Saturday, September 6, 2014

FIRST IMPRESSION: il Sogno del Marinaio – Canto Secondo

Mike Watt is a bad motherfucker.  Dude has wiped the floor of almost every club, church basement and American Legion post in the US with his full on bass assault, and he is (rightly) revered as one of the architects of modern punk.  His musical appetite, however, isn’t as simply reductive as that, and his newest venture, il Sogno del Marinaio, is one of his most relaxed outlets (more in line with the exploratory Banyan than his recent stuff with the Missingmen).  Formed in 2009 ostensibly to play a European festival, this ain’t no sidemouse venture…this is a BAND, with Watt joined by two talented Italian cats – guitarist Stefano Pilia and drummer Andrea Belfi.  It would be for too easy and cheap to say that they contribute a “worldliness” that is missing from most of Watt’s other work, but the group has a more prog and “European” bent than much else in his immense discography.

Belfi is a powerhouse and smacks the drums with an insistence that propels the songs and he locks in well with the bass monster, while Pilia is a more textural player than Nels Cline or Tom Watson.  He underplays nicely on tracks like “Auslander” and “Us In Their Land” before exploding into a flurry of notes. The closest il Sogno comes to the agit-funk Watt’s known for is probably on “Stucazz?!!”, a stuttering piece punctuated by Watt’s blurting out the titular Italian curse….it’s as awesome and hilarious as you would think!  Overall, the album (and band) is an intriguing excursion from a guy who has made a career of doing exactly what he wants, which is exactly as it should be.  As the man himself might say, “Watt out!”

Check back at the end of the month for my lengthy chat with Watt, Pilia and Belfi in advance of their October 8th date in Buffalo! 

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