Get this crazy baby off my head!


If (Italy)

If - Morpho Nestira - 2008 - Independent Release

If is back with a new progressive rock concept album. The words are about the human rendition to materialism, so the music is harder, the rhythms are stronger, the sounds are heavier. Everything has a price, everything is a product, everything is goods. A gigantic Machine was generated following these rules. The Machine now is a part of us and we are part of the Machine, human gears wedged in the new order of “produce and consume”. Our weaknesses feed up the Machine, our natural tendency to get addicted to new and changing needs, our obsession of possession: we need to own things, more things, useless objects become necessary and even relationships, love and sex become products, good with a fixed price. Sex becomes power and this power needs possession. The obsession for possession is our drug, the poison that controls our consciences. We keep on filling our houses with things while we’re getting empty, at the end we’re naked and we lost of the only thing that we can’t buy: our Time. The Machine created our new needs and it satisfied us filling our lives with objects and debts, while we paid with the only thing that we really owned, our Time, the Ocean where our Soul flowed. - © Morpho Nestira, © 2008 Dario Lastella (634479902116 - © http://cdbaby.com/cd/ifsounds2

Not to be confused with the brilliant British progressive jazz rock band from the early seventies, If (2) are a modern Italian progressive symphonic band. "Morpho Nestira" is their fourth album, and musically it's quite good, with unusual elements of jazz, Bossanova and samba rhythms, and fusion. There are unnecessary vocals at the end of tracks which can be irritating, but leaving that criticism aside, the album is enjoyable. "Morpho Nestira" has been labelled as a "concept" album, and at times the sounds are reminiscent of some of Brian Eno or Mike Oldfield's works, although without the same degree of originality. However, the album has musical merit, and is worth a listen. Check out the band's "In the Cave" album.


1. You need (3:32)
2. Morpho Nestira Part 1 (3:18)
3. 10 years old (5:49)
4. Background Noise (3:07)
5. Thirsty (4:15)
6. Learning to communicate (3:53)
7. Unknown eyes (5:42)
8. Poison (3:39)
9. Naked (5:39)
10. Morpho Nestira Part 2 (6:40)
11. Empty (7:44)
12. Oceans of Time (4:13)


Dario Lastella - electric and acoustic guitar, synths
Franco Bussoli - bass
Claudio Lapenna - electric and acoustic piano, vocals
Luca Di Pardo - drums
Yul Fecé - saxophone
Loretta Di Pisa, Paolo De Santis - vocals


Here we go again, another Italian rock band for our consideration. I've got to tell you this is unlike any Italian band I have ever heard, and believe me I have heard a few. I can say, without hesitation, this album was a fabulous find for yours truly. Their brand new album, Morpho Nestira, is a conceptual piece about humanity's quest for gluttonous consumerism and the pursuit of all things materialistic. The subject matter is not your typical prog fare but this isn't your typical prog band. Actually, the theme may bear some resemblance to Porcupine Tree's Fear of a Blank Planet. The band's lineup consists of Franco Bussoli (bass), Paolo De Santis (vocals), Luca Di Pardo (drums), Claudio Lapenna (piano, electric piano, organ, keyboards, synth, vocals) and Dario Lastella (acoustic and electric guitars, synth, vocals). Some of the music infuses a 70s vibe and this is no surprise as the band considers The Who, Genesis and Pink Floyd as major influences. Do not get me wrong, however, as this music mixes nostalgia with a modern sound that is truly riveting. Although this is a concept album, and the songs flow nicely, each is finely crafted showcasing some outstanding melodies. Helping to meld these songs together is the occasional spoken word segment that subtly reminds me of Manfred Mann's Somewhere in Africa. One of the album's highlights is the Pink Floyd influenced "Thirsty" which includes some great saxophone ala Dick Parry. Dreamy keys, lush background vocals and washes of synths reminds one of the glory days of art rock. In contrast, the hard rocking "Poison" really kicks ass with distorted guitar, emotional vocals and a Who-like attitude. The band does a great job at mixing hard and softer parts together creating different shades of light and heavy. Another favourite has to be "Naked" which its lovely piano and vocals. Again, if you like Pink Floyd this song should satisfy as it reminds me of The Final Cut in the softer parts and The Wall in the harder sections. The lyrics of Lastella reflect man's insatiable materialistic goals: "I'm lonely in my room with all the things I have. I've got so many books. I've got a big TV there. I've got all my guitars I needed and I bought, but I can write no more songs, my soul got too cold." And he goes on to say: "Now I've got everything, but I'm nothing and I'm alone." This is a sad commentary on society's obsession with greed and how it can leave us utterly empty inside. Another highlight is the instrumental "Morpho Nestira part 2" featuring some of the best guitar playing on the album, while the music takes a few twists and turns really upping the progressive quotient. The quirkiness of "Empty" should also appeal to progressive fans as well as fans of 70s rock. An atmospheric and wistful beginning gives way to excellent drum fills, thumping bass and unique vocals creating a modern progressive sound. A soft middle section complete with organ and spoken word vocals provides excellent contrast . The album ends strongly with the acoustic driven "Oceans of Time". Beautiful Gilmour-like guitar and a great melody will have you tapping your feet. The song ends with a lovely piano motif and the sounds of waves crashing on the shore. This could very well end up in my top ten of 2009. Lets just hope the rest of the year produces music this good. Highly recommended! © Jon Neudorf, © Sea Of Tranquility, www.seaoftranquility.org

The music business, and those corporations around it, is suffering a slow and painful death. As catastrophic as this may sound to some, the truth is, sales have been dwindling exponentially around the world in the last 5-6 years, and the only “artists” with guaranteed distribution and public exposure are those (don’t need to mention them… just fill the gap with your own personal “blacklisted”) who belong to the big Machine. In If’s own words, “our weaknesses feed the Machine”, and they couldn’t be more right, as this Italian band, along a few thousand more in the musical scene, is another victim of this big, unforgiving device. They have self-produced, and self-released, their latest release, Morpho Nestira (name for a particularly beautiful species of butterfly), apparently a concept album about “human rendition to materialism”. Probably, they chose to do things their own way by not compromising their “art” with a contract, but I’d rather think there wasn’t any contract in sight (correct me if I’m wrong), because there’s not much room left for small independent bands outside mainstream channels. Sadly, this affects the overall result of the album, as production values are poor by professional standards and, as a result, the sound is thin and lacks depth; anyway, I guess the budget was tight, so guitarist Dario Lastella deserves credit for his good job on the controls. My other main grip with this album is Paolo De Santis’ work on vocals. Having a nice tone, as he does, sometimes his voice sounds strained as he tries to project a more powerful performance; besides, his English diction could certainly be much better. Why doesn’t he sing in Italian? Performance and composition-wise, Morpho Nestira sounds reasonably pleasant, with a special mention to Claudio Lapenna’s classy keyboards, and Franco Bussoli’s subdued bass lines. If’s music will remind you of Pink Floyd, especially their mid-period, their most successful, between the releases of Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall, and this means elegant music and thought-provoking lyrics. Roger Waters’ influence on the overall concept of the album, and more prominently in some specific songs, like Naked (which could have been on The Wall), is evident, but there’s room for more. Thirsty is another Floyd tinged track, but Yul Fecé’s saxophone provides a certain Supertramp flavour. The other main reference, at least to my ears, is Swedish band Ritual. This is not to say they’re a strongly influential band, but vocals often sound very similar to Patrik Lundström’s. This is evident in the more energetic songs, such as You Need, Background Noise or closing track Oceans Of Time, which also show a slight alternative, harder edged character. Elsewhere, there’s a couple of nice instrumentals, the Latin perfumed Morpho Nestira Part 1, and the more reflective and keyboard-oriented Morpho Nestira Part 2, as well as loads of sound effects and voices, perhaps to give the CD more depth and a cohesive, conceptual feel, but I’m not sure it works. In particular, spoken word fragments (in Italian, English, and Spanish) don’t add too much and may be a distraction for some listeners. In closing, this is an acceptable piece of music, marred by its slightly “amateurish” personality, which shows interesting ideas and loads of enthusiasm. If only they had the time, and the means… Conclusion: 6.5 out of 10. © HECTOR GOMEZ , © 1995 - 2009 : Dutch Progressive Rock Page


If is an Italian band with it's roots in the 1990s. Five Italian friends played prog and non-prog covers (Pink Floyd, Queen, The Police) next to some of their own material - mainly at high school parties and small rock festivals.After a pause of 4 years, in 2004, the band rejoined, without former drummer Pietro Chissimo and with a new vocalist Paolo De Santis on vocals.The same year, the album In the Cave was released by the band themselves. A year later this was followed by If, which contained newly recorded versions of material written before the turn of the century.The band got quite a bit of attention with this last release, and one track was nominated for a Kayak Award for easy listening...Continuing a track of yearly releases, something that's becoming less and less coming, the band released yet another album in 2006, The Stairway. Again, the album was well received in their home country, and this time two tracks got nominated for Kayak Awards in the category "Progressive Rock".After this, time had come to finally recruite a new drummer after 3 years of doing without. Luca di Pardo joins the band and can first be heard on the 2008 release Morpho Nestira, playing with Claudio Lapenna, Francesco Bussoli, Paolo de Santis and Dario Lastella. This album shows what skilled and trained musicians can do, and to the even so trained listener it reveals clearly which other bands have influenced If. Enjoy... © Prog Archives, All rights reserved