Published Mar 11, 2019Guerilla Toss bassist Simon Hanes has been spreading his wings as composer, arranger and band leader with Tredici Bacci since 2014, when the Thirteen Kisses Cassetta EP arrived via NNA Tapes. The project began as an homage to 1960s and '70s Italian soundtrack music, and has matured and blossomed into something more compelling. La Fine Del Futuro expands considerably on the group's already immense foundation, diverging from its ambitious origin into something considerably more impassioned.
First off, with this new record, the already large combo has expanded its membership to 20 performers across the vast landscape of orchestral instrumentation: winds, strings, brass and percussion. More importantly, Hanes' compositional focus has shifted toward Bacharach-inspired pop.
This is readily apparent within the first few moments of opening track "Titoli Di Testa" (or "Opening Credits") and continues throughout most of the proceedings. This shift in direction allows lead vocalist Sami Stevens to flex her stylistic muscle. She masterfully belts out opera, pop and jazz, sometimes shifting gears in the same song. Her voice is an instrument in itself, its unflagging energy leading the rest of the band through each composition.
Fittingly, there's an ironic levity on display among the saccharine pop songcraft. "In the 1970s" has Stevens pining for the days when one could "snort a line right off of a crystal tray, put your keys in a bowl and swing the night away." Collaborator JG Thirlwell (aka Foetus) provides vocals for "Emmanuelle," a sinister version of the 12th century Christmas hymn.
These quirky moments demonstrate that Hanes and his crew are enjoying themselves. This is music that transcends homage: it takes cues from pop music history's finest moments but is ultimately a unique concoction. (NNA Tapes)