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Murple - Io Sono Murple CD (album) cover

IO SONO MURPLE

Murple

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.91 | 134 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars `Io Sono Murple' is the title of the 1974 debut from Italian progressive group Murple, or as I like to refer to it (mostly because I can never remember the title) `That Penguin album'! Yes, said animal is right there on the front of that charming and colourful cover, and the album itself is a concept piece about the creature as well. Containing two extended and continuous suites of music, with plenty of instrumental variety, romantic voices and strong melodies seamlessly flowing together, there's plenty of that classical drama and passionate flair so often associated with the vintage Italian progressive releases throughout.

Unusually, the band decide to open the album in a very sedate, slowly unfolding manner instead of blasting the listener with energetic intent! After a slowly morphing ambient synth drone, the album kicks to life with rollicking guitars, leaping upfront bass, trickles of Hammond organ and take-charge drumming. After some spectral organ, spiralling synth and devilish Hammond attacks, the piece settles into a delicate piano and vocal melody. Synths raise the piece in victory, little moments taking off in a brisk regal organ fanfare prance. Transitioning into a reflective classical piano break with a mournful choir, punchy guitar blasts over wavering spacey keyboard bubbles and Le Orme-styled organ pomp, leading straight to a buoyant up-tempo Genesis-like call-to-arms, almost resembling the early Eloy albums like `The Power and the Passion' as well.

Mario Garbarino's thick bass is the absolute standout throughout the entire flip-side, and all of the instrumental interplay between the musicians and the different flowing compositions from here on are just as memorable as anything offered from many of the higher profile Italian progressive groups of the time. Calming but gently melancholic piano announces this second side and dazzles with classical sophistication, moving into a swooning and loving ballad with murmuring bass and a heroic guitar theme over soothing synth washes. Out of nowhere, the band rip into a loopy and frantic instrumental run over the top of a pulsing beat and aggressive thrashing drums. Mellow vocal moments and whimsical interludes with a manic soaring and energetic finale follow, before the band close on a stirring low-key violin outro.

Is this a classic of the vintage RPI works? Perhaps not, but while there may be plenty more important, challenging and daring albums in the sub-genre, this one is sure to be a personal favourite in many collections. The group seemed destined to fall to the `one and done' curse that befell many Italian acts from the vintage Seventies period, this album being their sole release until they returned in 2008 with `Quadri Di Un'Esposizione' and more recently with 2014's `Il Viaggio'. But this is the first highlight from the band listeners should explore, a very special and much loved little album, and `Io Sono Murple' ticks all the right boxes that you'd want to find on an Italian progressive work from the era. It's also perfectly enjoyable for both established Italian prog connoisseurs and newcomers investigating the genre for the first time.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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