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Ars Nova (ITA) - Ars Nova CD (album) cover

ARS NOVA

Ars Nova (ITA)

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.34 | 4 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Warm, accessible, and far from essential

Ars Nova are not a first tier Italian prog band, they probably reside in the middle of the third tier actually. The group from Rome began in 1974 and was led by the Piergiovanni brothers, Luigi and the late Stefano. In their active years of the late 1970s, the band managed only to record two singles. But their other recorded tracks, along with some live tracks, were documented on one of the many archival Mellow posthumous recordings which have become the treasure of the RPI fan.

These 11 tracks show a typically romantic Italian music mixed with a healthy shot of period rock and pop. This is music whose goal is much more the entertainment of the listener than anything risky or experimental. To my ears there is not much which is exciting or challenging and yet it is not terrible either. This is a much more satisfying posthumous release that the self-titled Cerchio d'Oro album in a somewhat similar style of release. Ars Nova are a band who likely would have improved very much had they made a modern era comeback album like Cerchio did. In trying to come up with a non-Italian band to compare them to, I would say in their best moments they remind me a bit of the Yugo band Tako with their spacey background atmospheres. While not as accomplished as those lads, Ars combine that love for a good rock track with that floating, serene bed of keyboards. Their best example of their success would be something like "Caligola" which starts like a foggy mellotron dream before dropping into a totally Beatle-esque chorus part complete with a Harrison style guitar solo and fade-out. "Sogna" is a lovely and sentimental late '70s pop track like those you would find on a Ktel singer-songwriter collection, with a fine piano melody. In fact, the later more pop-oriented tracks remind me of the '70s American band called Player who scored a big hit with "Baby Come Back." Imagine that track with more Italian flavor and vocals and you'll get the idea of one aspect of Ars Nova. The other side of them is the RPI influence of the period that you'll hear on the live stuff.

Without a doubt, Ars Nova is only for the most dedicated RPI fan who has already worked through the essential titles and the better lesser-known gems. The lower prog quotient and average quality of the finished product holds my rating to "for fans," yet some of these tracks will almost surely please those who enjoy melodic pop as much or more than pure progressive rock. I certainly enjoy the album on occasion, when one needs a break from the more challenging material.

Finnforest | 2/5 |

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