Il parco dei sogni (Columbia)
by Michael McCarthy
If Carmen Consoli doesn’t sound spiritual enough for you, check out Francesca Chiara‘s Il parco dei sogni. That’s “The Park of The Dreams,” according to Alta Vista, which spit out “Strange World,” “I Want,” “Witches,” and “I Love You That Strange” among its song title translations. At times she sounds almost as angry as Consoli – or Alanis, for that matter – but most of the time she gives the listener the impression that she’s singing with a slightly evil grin on her face, her accent sounding more like Mexico’s Gloria Trevi than any Italian artist I’ve heard. As if all of this wasn’t bizarre enough, the disc sports some haunting melodies and sounds that seem to have originated on another planet despite the fact that they feel right at home in her songs. Songs which I’ll call rock pop because they’re mostly rock with a pop influence. The production is quite fascinating as most of the tracks seem to have an electronic beat with simultaneous live drums. In other words, imagine if Ednaswap had hired Björk to create peculiar electronic beats to coincide with the live drums on their last album. Francesca Chiara is certainly not the first artist to use this technique, but there aren’t many artists who’ve managed it with such ear-pleasing results.