19 Nov 2013

Tredici Bacci "The Thirteen Kisses" Review

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

One of the hardest things about this job is finding information about some of the more obscure bands that I review, and if there's one thing that I've noticed, it's that there's no correlation between quality, potential appeal and exposure.
Take for example Boston's Tredici Bacci - a fourteen piece Italian style pop orchestra with a thoroughly convincing seventies Italian film vibe that takes in lush Morricone meets Bacharach pop grooves, should be kitsch / should be schmaltzy lounge stylings and a hint of Giallo frisson. There are whole corners of the internet feverishly devoted to this sort of thing, yet as far as I can see only a single review so far for this most deserving of E.Ps, and that from a source who seemed to decide that it was more cocktail jazz than anything else. Well, it does have SOME horns in it and I guess we all hear everything differently.
"The Thirteen Kisses" is custom made for the niche but obsessive euro film soundtrack audience - the sort of release that those on the same wavelength will fall obsessively in love with, even though they're likely to be out-numbered by those who scratch their heads and wonder what that was all about - and that's just the sort of release we like to get behind here at Active Listener Towers.
They (humbly) call themselves a group, but with fourteen members and a huge expansive sound I'd like to think orchestra is a far more appropriate description and that perhaps they're suffering from delusions of non-grandeur, because grand is very much what is on display here.
Opener "Carina Botto" is all you'll need to hear to convince you of this, tense Bernard Hermann strings, an easy South American infused lounge swagger, and huge sweeping crescendoes with wordless vocals ala Eda Dell'Orso make this a fitting overture for the sprawling, dynamic film that it's kickstarted in my head; full of tension, beautiful women, action and the odd sexy party.
This sense of dynamics and easy change of mood is a constant throughout, as is an unerring air for melody. Even those of the opinion that Italian film scores of the era were mostly about the tuneless psychedelic weirdness will have to grudgingly admit that there are a shed load of actual tunes here. The fact that these tracks are also able to evoke a multitude of scene changes in quick, seamless succession just goes to show you don't necessarily need an actual film to come up with an evocative, effective soundtrack.
Highly recommended whether you're a fan of Bruno Nicolai or Ennio Morricone, or likeminded followers like Orgasmo Sonore and Giallo's Flame.

Available through their Bandcamp site here:

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