6 August 2015

Profondo Rosso - To Live, And Die, In The UK

Looking backwards can be a dangerous thing for me; many a movie I used to love when I was a kid have been ruined by watching them as an adult (sadly, the collection of ruined movies does include The Goonies); thankfully for me music has been a much safer environment  for this listener.  Now the album I am reviewing here is from 1996 and released by Sunderland Glam/Rock Punk 'n' Roll act Profondo Rosso (not to be confused with the film or Death Metal act - if it is either of those you are after, you might be disappointed).  I remember seeing them around the North East of England a few times, the main ones that stick in my head are Tynemouth College and the Riverside supporting Smalltown Heroes.  I was always hoping they would explode and take over the country, they just had a sound that was huge for me and they did get some press from places outside of the region.  But alas they just released this album, a few singles and that was that (UPDATE - I have been informed there is a second album, expect a review soon).  Now, the main reason for looking into this is that I found out just a few days ago that they are back together and are actually getting ready to play their first gig in many years.  It just got me thinking about how I used to play this album all the time, it was one of my favourite records growing up and I have always kept my copy of the album.  However it has been a little while since I last listened to it, so has time been kind, or have the years been mean to it like it has to my taste in films?

With a drum roll, the band launch into “Lacerated Dreams” and for me it still sounds as fresh as it did when I first heard it all those years ago at my old college.  The indie/punk ‘n’ roll bounces along and I will be honest there is quite a large nod of the hat to ‘Generation Terrorists’ Manic Street Preachers, but it still sounds better than a lot of what the Manics did after ‘The Holy Bible’.  Even if I take off my fan-boy rose tinted glasses, it sounds like it could have been wrote a few hours ago and recorded just for the blog – this is not always the case with band of this era and the song still sounds fantastic.  The second track is called “Auto-Erotic” which was a single taken from the album (alas I cannot find my copy of this album) and this tale of sexual deviances, suicide and other adventures always made me chuckle as well as want to bounce around my room (dancing, not getting my rocks off).  It is once more take from the punk ‘n’ roll cloth and when it is played as well as this, you cannot fail but be impressed.  Opening to a sea of wah-wah guitar, “Black Jesus” is next is a political bomb for me; you have reference to race relations in the mix, you have a song that sounds like a riot could be going on outside and there is an anger in here that still sounds as bright in 2015 as it did in 1996.  The world changes but the song remains the same; in this case it still sound vibrant, but I do wish that humanity had moved from some of the event that are happening to people around the world – sorry for getting side tracked here.  Long story short – song is fantastic, message good, sad world is fucked up.

“Operation Miranda” is more indie/punk goodness, it is a song that deals with the darker side of sexuality and it is another excellent song mixed in with a fantastic backing track that has followed the patterned formed by the beginning of the album and still sounds fantastic.  It is a little slower, but you need to mix up the speeds and this song still has a lot of energy about it.  “Celluloid Scrawl” is the fifth track on the album and has always been a track that I have not really clicked with, sadly time has not endeared it to me.  It is well played as everything is on the album, but there is always a track on an album which you do not quite get – for me, this one is it and it is sadly not for me – but that solo is mighty towards the end.  “Totally Just” just reminds me of being a kid, one of the tracks of the album that I would just repeat over and over again.  What I did not realise until years later is the depth behind the music and the message underneath all of this.  It is a song which reflects what the band had seen growing up and I can say that it is something that a lot of people experience still in this day and age.  Once more, musically it is that punk rock, indie combo and they always have a massive solo in the song; the song still brings a big dumb smile to my face – love it.  “Open Plan Go” is another song which was released off the album as a single and it has that punk vibe going on, the riff is just so simple but so brilliant at the same time.  I love everything about this song and it is still in my jaw droppers from when I first heard it; long story short – it is fucking ace!

“Extrapolate” is one of the slower numbers on the album, I have always thought the song was about boredom and how that can affect someone when there is nothing to do.  It is a standard 90’s indie punk number, but I cannot help feel that same excitement I felt all those years ago when I first started to listen to this band.  Once more, there is a storming solo towards the end – fantastic song once again from Profondo Rosso.  “Lifeline” is another punk standard and seems to be bemoaning the modern world and not wanting to be part of it, whilst at the same time not wanting to be anything else.  I really could be (and I probably am) wrong, but that was always the impression I got from the number.  The song is a solid number that keeps everything moving along, might not be the most spectacular, but it is still a good solid song.  The penultimate track for this album is the six minute plus “Green Inferno” and this is starts with feedback, a catchy bass line and some subtle drumming.  It is also one of the songs which I kept getting in my head over the years and forgetting who it was by (sorry guys, I kept thinking it was those Welsh guys).  It is also the song that upon playing over the last few days that stands out the most on the album, it just has everything going for it and it is a lost classic.  Lyrics which can mean anything to everyone, music that is catchy, riffs that have hooks for the soul, drums that sound like thunder, pulsing bass and just a towering tune.  Ending the album is the frenzy which is “People” which end the album on a punk rock anthem about not closing your eyes as they have seen things.  It is a high voltage, punk ‘n’ roll ending to the album and feels like they are giving their all right to the last note.

Next year, this album will be twenty years old; I still find that amazing as it still sounds as fresh at the day I first purchased it from Windows in Newcastle all those years ago.  Time cannot be kind to something that you loved from your youth, thankfully time has been very kind here.  It is the sound of a band who were very heavily influenced by early Manic Street Preachers?  Yes, there is no denying that and the band themselves used to do a cover of the Manic’s as part of their set (I cannot remember which song, but my head is remembering either “Repeat” or “Slash N Burn” - turns out I was wrong, it was Sorrow 16).  Is it a good album?  Even with the rose tinted glasses removed, it is still a great record; the sound is so timeless and it really does feel like the masses missed out on a treat here.  I am hoping the reunion is not just a one off, but even if it is I still have this immense and wonderful record.  I do recommend getting a copy of this album, still fucking awesome.

9 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost……

Top track – Green Inferno

You can purchase a copy of the album from Amazon here

You can follow their activities on Facebook here

You can also follow them on Reverbnation here

****Just found, all of Profonodo Rosso's previous releases are on Soundcloud - including this album (and a second one which will be reviewed soon)****

You cannot stream this album on Spotify, etc - but you can hear songs from this album on their Reverbnation page - or just purchase the album

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