Published Mar 03, 2015The ambition of La Batteria's eponymous debut is epic. Granted, it doesn't have quite the same production value as Rome, the spaghetti western-inspired album that Danger Mouse spent five years making with composer Daniele Luppi, but the spirit is quite similar. La Batteria sees a quartet of talented Italian musicians — namely guitarist Emanuele Bultrini, drummer David Nerattini, bassist Paolo Pecorelli, keyboardist Stefano Vicarelli — gather in Rome with a bunch of vintage equipment and a shared love of Alessandro Alessandroni, Bruno Nicolai and Goblin. Most of the results are period-perfect. The prog-funk of the Patchani Brothers-assisted "Formula" is practically begging for Lucio Fulci visuals; "Incognito" sounds like Astor Piazzolla and Isaac Hayes collaborating on a Blaxploitation theme; Mellotron, organ and a mix of shredded amp electric and classical acoustic all click on the dramatic "Dilemma," while "Vice Versa" sounds like the kind of spy film funk championed by the Herbaliser Band.
There is a little something holding it back at times, though. While the harpsichord and wordless feminine cooing on "Manifesto" hit all the right baroque pop buttons, or evoke something from an Ennio Morricone western, there's a cheesy '90s rock guitar tone on there that makes it feel a bit too much like Evanescence. Worse, "Espresso" is nondescript library funk. Yet, these moments are easily overlooked in the context of what they tried to achieve. They have the style and skill down, and as their vision is further honed as a unit, so shall be the vividness of their cinematic evocations. (Penny Records)