Review: Pietro Berselli – Orfeo l’Ha Fatto Apposta (Italy, 2016)

You always feel that bittersweet taste when you can prove yourself wrong. And as I’m growing older and wiser (musical-wise) I realise, firstly, Italian music isn’t so bad after all and then that I’m starting to appreciate some Italian singing too. Don’t worry. I’m not going to start my usual whining about how dumb I was not to enjoy music from my own country! But, for you own safety, I’m gonna jump right into Pietro Berselli’s album Orfeo l’Ha Fatto Apposta.

Guitarist, singer, songwriter and thick-bearded man Pietro Berselli released his first album, Debole (Senza Regole) as an EP, in 2014. It was a guitar/voice only album. Simple and warm and with an intimate air. Now, two years later -sorry, three actually, I haven’t realised it’s 2017 already- Pietro, accompanied by a full band, this time around, is going to release his very first “lengthy” album -via Dischi Sotteranei, out tomorrow! The presence of a real, fully equipped band bent the sound towards a more valued blend of rock. In fact, post-rock and new wave influences are definitely audible. They mitigate the feeble and buried down but still present vein of pop. And they finally merge in tasteful instrumental moments (see the harsh Sintetizzatore or the dreamy ballad Mediterraneo di Notte).

The album kicks in with Niobe. My favourite pick out of it and presumably the tune that are going to lead Orfeo l’Ha Fatto Apposta –indeed it did. A videoclip for this song has been released pre-emptively and you can watch it over here. This video suggests a fuzzy, seventies-like interpretation for the whole album. Have you ever noticed that old films, possibly not top-notch ones, from those years have now a weird, sick green stain over them? That is the kind of feelings Berselli’s album gives. Tales of a sick love, stained with a strange greenish halo. It tells it is somehow long gone, yet -as a movie filmed forty years ago that we’re playing after that long- still hurts. Even if it does that with a surreal, irritating sting. Have we really experienced this or is it just the music we’ve been listening to?

Berselli’s words, vocabulary and wording are both erudite and sublime. I guess, for the mere sake of language, that one won’t fully enjoy this record if he doesn’t -fluently- speak and understand Italian. And even if you do then you must pay particular attention to the complex intertwining of voice, spoken and “almost-recited” part the Padua-based singer, songwriter crafted. Diluire does underline that: the voice speaks theatrically over a post-rock like base.

What does it leave you at the end? Well, melancholy at first. Anger and resignation came afterward, when you suddenly realise how amazingly you can relate to the stories he chanted. But most of all … yes, you will have that bittersweet taste in your mouth, but I’m sure you will like it eventually.

Label: Dischi Sotteranei
Websites: Facebook | Website
Release Date: 13th January 2016
Reviewed by Matteo “Teo” Gruppi

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About Matteo "Teo" Gruppi 120 Articles
TSL co-founder, co-owner, editor, CEO, reviewer, interviewer and writer. Basically I do a lot of stuff and I can’t get anything done well. I was born in 1991 and started loving music since 1981. Got my very first band in high school and now I play as a lonely dumbass in 3 projects: Chiral, Il Vuoto and |||. I listen to every kind of music as long as it is good and intense. Favourite genres include: everything as long as it’s good! (but also folk, black metal, 70-80’s rock and post-rock).

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