Italy’s One Man Band Alberto Arcangeli Combines Indie Pop with Americana, Folk, Rock and Blues
His new album, Dreamsongs, is his first full-length record in English and completely self-produced and released. The album opens with the track, “Dream Song,” a surprisingly charming composition that combines a banjo, flute, hand-clapping and layers of harmonic vocals. Dreamsongs‘ opener leaves the listener wondering if there is more to this promising talent.
The answer comes as the next track “Touch By A Cloud” unfolds, with its feel-good, almost intoxicating, charm – a nice representation for the ‘dream concept’ Arcangeli employs so well. “Oil Crash,” with its celestial acoustics and accompanying flute, is yet another bright, memorable song. The upbeat blues rock sound of “I Cannot Wait” demonstrates the late 60s sound Arcangeli loves so much.
It is one thing when a musician writes his or her own music, but it’s a whole other level when a musician plays all of the instruments, sings all of the vocal tracks and masterfully pulls together the pieces to create an amazingly self-produced, self-released LP.
“I record the songs on my PC at home,” Arcangeli told IRC. “I usually start with an acoustic guitar part, structure and arrangement in mind, and then I add all the other instruments – bass, voice, drums. Sometimes everything fits well from the beginning; other times, I have to re-think all [of] the structure, because I feel that something’s missing.”
The modesty implied in his music and words help to enhance Arcangeli’s overall appeal. He only started recording in English two years ago, but you would never know that otherwise. When he was about 10 years old, Arcangeli’s father gave him an album collection of the popular music from the 1960s. By age 13, Arcangeli began performing music, played jazz and classical music, and even toured for one summer with Italy’s ‘official’ Beatles cover band Revolver.
He realized over the years that if he wanted to reach a wider audience, English was the way to go. “I’ve been writing songs in Italian up until two years ago,” he said, “when I realized I could do it in English too…[and] spread my songs worldwide, not only in Italy.”
Like the mark of any truly gifted musician, Arcangeli provides impressive cover versions of some classic rock and pop tunes. Covering The Kinks‘ classic “Sunny Afternoon” is a ballsy thing for any musician to do.
And yet, Arcangeli’s cover manages to capture the song’s original intrigue and charm in a way that would probably make Ray Davies proud. Oddly, but nevertheless effectively, Arcangeli adds a hint of a country twang to his rendition of the song, a risk that he took, and pulled off. He also does impressive work covering the classic “Tobacco Road” (Nashville Teens), and other 60s rock songs “Kind Woman” (Buffalo Springfield), “Hey Grandma” (Moby Grape) and “This Will Be Our Year” (The Zombies) demonstrate Arcangeli’s rightful place in the world of pop music.
Arcangeli’s musical influences include The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Cars, Neil Young, Steely Dan and many other artists and bands of the classic rock era. The Lennon-McCartney song, “Happiness Is A Warm Gun,” is his favorite song ever, he says. And within the realm of modern indie pop and rock, Arcangeli cites albums from Vampire Weekend (Vampire Weekend), Dr. Dog (Fate), Fleet Foxes (Fleet Foxes) and Loney Dear (Noir).
Again, as I wonder so often, how is it possible that such amazing music is only heard by a few and so much crappy music is heard by millions? There is no hype, marketing budget or promotional apparatus backing Arcangeli – and often, especially with an original talent, that’s a good thing.
“Dream Song” – Alberto Arcangeli from Dreamsongs (2009)
“Touched By A Cloud” – Alberto Arcangeli from Dreamsongs (2009)
“Sunny Afternoon” (The Kinks) – Alberto Arcangeli from Dreamsongs (2009)
Official website: www.albertoarcangeli.com
Note: You can download the entire album at Arcangeli’s site above; although, we do encourage people who enjoy the music to make a donation of any amount on his site. By the way, the artwork demonstrated above was created by Arcangeli’s father and the sleeve work by his sister.
MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/albertoarcangeli