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Ezio | The Making Of Mr Spoonz (Salami)
Well-played guitars and fine songwriting will never go out of fashion, which is odd as Ezio have never been chic and they have both qualities by the bucketload. While many an average act has gone on to greatness this duo have kept on plugging away, scoring a deal with Arista only to lose it again and starting over with an album on their own Salami label. It's also a return to form for singer Ezio Lunedei and guitarist Mark 'Booga' Fowell, as it's stripped of most of the clutter that marred some of their big label output. They work best when there's more room for them to breathe, it would be hard to imagine the gentle opener to be acceptable to a bigger fish. The song only steps up the pace halfway in and then not by much, it has a gentle burst of an acoustic guitar break and the keyboards waft in the background, but the whole thing is so understated that it allows the record to sneak up on you. If you wonder why I don't name this song, it's simple, I haven't got a tracklisting, only the title of the album scrawled across the 'label' side of the CD-R. There are a couple of titles I know, Immigrants Table for one, a reworking of an old track telling of life as a stranger in a strange land, staring wide-eyed at relatives who have brought the old world with them. It shows Ezio's talent for writing an evocative lyric without resorting to banalities or mawkishness, he just seems to be able to convey the moment and emotion without any fuss and he's also got a fine way with a melody and can burst into a chiming chorus at the drop of a hat. Now, the big problem with not knowing the titles is I can't tell you what track 6 (on my copy) is called, but it's glorious. It starts with the dual guitar lines playing in harmony, swapping rhythm and lead as they twist along with the melody line. It chugs along nicely and then just starts to take off, a bit of bass, percussion and some keyboards help out, but not too heavily. There's just something about the way it goes into the "sometimes I wish that my heart would stop beating for a while" line when the chorus takes over. It's a song that would be considered a classic if it was done by anyone other than two guys from Cambridge, but maybe all that will change. The joyful mood of that track is followed by a fragile number that finds the spot with an opening line of "she loves to drive east in the evening when the sun is all golden and low". You know it's not going to be a happy trip. The mandolin strum of The Same Mistake brings to mind the Faces and it's the type of song that will creep up on and fill your mind when you least expect it, believe me on this. The album slips away in much the same way as it arrived, gently and without much fuss, as if apologetic to have bothered you, heading back to a world where "hearts don't break and eyes don't glisten", a world clearly alien to them and to you when you listen to this.