|2012||Musea Records||FGBG 4895|
Coffee in Neukolln is the third official CD of the classical-influenced Italian band Barock Project. Their first one was praised in the prog-world but their second one, Rebus, didn't convince me that much.
But that is often the case: The debut albums are very often a culmination of a long process and the second one is a tougher one to make - expecially if the first one has been a success.
On their third one the band has managed to make a clear progress. The lyrics are in english throughout the album which is a good thing. As good a decision would have been to sign only in Italy. But anyhow, the voice of Luca Pancaldi is very pleasant and natural.
The album opens promisingly with a nice tune Back to You, a song that reminds me a bit of PFM's Celebration. Unfortunately after that we get some of the weakest moments of the CD: The strange incoherence between the bombastic music and the somewhat naive-sounding lyrics of Coffee in Neukolln and Fool's Epilogue is disturbing. A positive way of describing it would be to say that Barock Project has tried to achieve in prog the same that Queen did in rock with Bohemian Rhapsody. Only that Queen made it better.
But after those long 20 minutes the album starts to flourish. It's like the band had made a repentance after the weaker moments to repay the loyal listener,
Streets of Berlin sounds at the star a bit discoesque, but manages to progress towards to the end. And then, suddenly, we get to hear some of the best prog made in this decade! The last four songs are just amazing! Original, beautiful, emotional. Starfull Jack, Inside My Deamer Eyes 1 & 2 and The Lives of Others form a great 30-minute epic which leaves you speechless. There's even a majestic homage to Genesis, an instrumental part, obviously similiar to the 9/8 time signature of the ending of Supper's Ready. This is what it should have been!
Luca Zabbini is a great composer and a keyboard player. Let's hope he concentrates the next time to the same kind of material which fills the last part of Coffee in Neukölln. But while waiting, listen the amazing "B-side" of this album and hope for the best in the future.