You more than likely will not have heard of Andrea Ianni yet, well unless you are one of the fortunate ones to have caught him busking in London but even then his name was probably not in the air. He is the magician behind the excellent and impressive album LikeWise. The release is an eclectic collection of songs which will have you smiling, enthused, and maybe even slightly confused, but it will certainly make an hour of your life one of the most imaginative and thoroughly enjoyable.
Born in Rome and brought up in Milan, Ianni has been London based for the past five years and as mentioned can be seen busking 5 or 6 days a week in his new home city. He is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist (drums, bass, guitar, piano), and vocalist with his own distinct and inventive style which is as experimental as it is controlled and accomplished. For gigs he has assembled a trio to bring his songs to life in the live arena, Ianni the vocalist and drummer alongside a guitarist and bassist. LikeWise though is all he, from songwriting and composing to the vocals, all music with just a couple of guest performances, and artwork. He is a man who has more than his fair share of talent, obviously stolen that which should have been ours here, but with a release this thrilling we will let him off.
As mentioned the album is a diverse and enterprising release. It takes inspirations from a varied and wide spectrum of sounds and styles often stretching them into shapes and textures which they probably never knew they had in them. Its heart is rock based but unafraid to explore deeply other creative influences. Nothing is predictable or expected on the album which makes for one exhilarating ride of intrigue and mystery for the senses and one feels for himself when creating this gem.
Things start off heated and energetic with Strawberry Girl, a song with a classic rock drive and melodic imagination. Immediately on appearance a riff which would grace any Sabbath or Priest song wraps itself around the ear to instantly grab attention. As the vocals of Ianni introduce the first of his tales inspired by life and people who pass however briefly through it, the song fluctuates from expressive restraint into a high octane rock anthem. Infectious and inspiring the song is a great introduction to the release and artist.
As each song enters from this point on, the wideness of the variety within LikeWise is evident. The excellent Jackals just one example as it teases and stomps through the ear with a brewing funk breath to its rock n roll feast of sound. It has a strong Red Hot Chili Peppers gait to its swagger to take the senses into a riot of unbridled melodic boisterousness and rhythmic taunting.
Songs like Widows with its inspiring progressive and hard rock meld, the impassioned and glorious Strange Words with its dramatic guest cello accompaniment, and the quite brilliant Tibetan Stork, leave senses and thoughts elevated and hyperactive with their ingenuity. The last of these three is a song which guides one through a kaleidoscope of soundscapes It starts as a feisty rock pop track with electro/industrial leanings before evolving through a slight stoner rock conjuration into a primal meditative/progressive envelopment. Admittedly one is too busy wondering just how we got there from the beginning sounds to be evoked into any deep emotional and inwardly looking reaction, but it is easily one stunning and wholly pleasurable ride.
Further exceptional moments in a series of highlights upon the album come with Martha and King Of Prisoners. The first is a blues sauntering with warm pulses of reggae charm which enchants from beginning to end whilst the second and the first single (and video directed by Ianni) from the album, is a mesmeric slice of sound which captures the imagination from its first magnetic footstep. With a subtle yet dramatic piano presence and pulsating atmosphere the track has a flavour of Faith No More and Nine Inch Nails to its stroll, though it offers extra abrasions to bruise the ear and twist the track into another compelling shape as it progresses. With a sharp guitar solo from guest Cri Coltro within its impressive shell the song is a sure treat.
LikeWise is a real gem and a secret which should be exposed from the rooftops whilst its creator is an artist who brings a unique imagination and passion back into music. The album can be downloaded for free from http://soundcloud.com/andreaiannihere so there is no excuse for not knowing the name Andrea Ianni anymore.
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