Eddie Lascu 7-May-2008 Frost of Watermelon

The band is:
Paolo Lucchina – voices
Francesco Vedani - drums, flute
Luigi Bonacina – bass guitar
Marco Strobel – acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin
Mosè Nodari – acoustic and electric guitar, oboe, mellotron, synthesizer, recorders, glockenspiel
Andrea Balliano – e-bow, electric guitar

Court is an Italian band formed in 1990 that released 2 albums in the early nineties and then pretty much disappeared under the radar. Apparently, they had a lot of line-up changes until the formula crystallized around 2003 when they released a new demo. Finally a new studio album was released in 2007, their third, under the name “Frost of Watermelon”.

From their MySpace page we learn that in November 2007 Court has received the Los Angeles Music Award as best Alternative Act for 2007. They must have ran out of bands, because to me Court doesn’t sound anything like alternative. I mean, alternative rock with mandolin, oboe and flute is unheard of, is it not? I will go even further and declare that the music is not even neo-progressive despite the fact that Court’s first two albums were thrown in that bin.

What we are offered on “Frost of Watermelon” is a good, melodic mix of symphonic rock and folk rock with a very definitive ‘70s vibe. Some songs are short and feature mellow acoustic guitar and flute, just like a good Jethro Tull ballad. Other are longer, complex compositions with dramatic accents and accelerated rhythms. The songs are very well crafted, the listener being often surprised by the direction in which goes the music. With the exception of two instrumental songs, on all others the vocals are sung in English. The voice of Lucchina is very mature and pleasant, but personally I would have preferred him to sing in his native language. Italian may have been a better choice for its musicality and theatricality. The interplay between flute, acoustic and electric guitar is made in the most authentic Italian way (best example is the 4th track, “When I Lose”). Mellotron and other keyboard instruments are added here in there just to create the atmospheric canvas on which the music is so nicely arranged.

Some of the highlights of the album are “Limbo”, “Walking and talking”, “Bridge to Maya” (simply superb), “Synaptic Ghost” and “Mad and Child”, a monumental suite in 4 parts that closes the record.

Italy continues to place itself at the forefront of the symphonic, progressive rock current. Bands like Court are leading the way, giving us some hope that we may witness a rebirth of the past glorious days. “Frost of Watermelon” is an excellent album that is recommended not only to the Italian Symphonic Prog completists, but to everyone who wants to hear a fresh take on the genre.

Peter Thelen    15-August-2002 And You'll Follow The Wind...

Court - "And You'll Follow The Wind..." (Music is Intelligence WMMS 024, 1993, CD) From the opening notes of "Rising the Tale" - a short instrumental interlude that opens the disc, it's apparent that this Italian neo-progressive band has traveled a different path than most. At first listen, one might casually make some comparisons with their follow countrymen Asgard, yet on a closer listen it becomes apparent that their influences might more be the folk-rock of the early seventies, bands like Tull, Fairport, all dressed up in a gothic cloak. In fact, if required to make comparisons, Court could be thought of as neo-progressive meets The Strawbs meets Pavlov's Dog, with obvious touches of early Marillion's darker side, Jethro Tull, and Galadriel. In fact, the vocalist at times reminds of Dave Cousins (Strawbs) and David Surkamp (Pavlov's Dog), moody and emotional, with respectable command of the English lyrics he is singing. The band consists of five persons, although no clues are given as to who plays what; There are two guitars on most tracks, one electric and one acoustic, plus bass, drums, piano, oboe and flute. Tracks are of varying length, from less than a minute to well beyond fifteen; the longer tracks involve numerous changes of tempo and mood, which the band handles quite capably, as well as supporting the vocal passages. Occasionally the arrangements get a bit excessive, too many things going on at once with nothing in particular in the spotlight, but in general, the sound is fairly well balanced. A full half of the tracks are instrumentals, although they are the shorter ones: "Willow Tears", basically an acoustic guitar piece, "Mirth for a Guest" is a folk dance for full band clocking in at just a minute and a half. Yet these short tracks offer insight into the true nature of the band. Tracks like "Cries" and "Alviss' Revenge" are full blown progressive rock epics that should please many. In summary, this is a good first release from a band that should hold great promise for the future.

(Originally published in Exposé #3, p.12, Edited for Gnosis 3/24/01)

Links for further information