Italian band IFSOUNDS have been around a couple of decades now, initially starting out under the moniker If and releasing 4 studio productions under that name. “Morpho Nestira” the most recent of these, a CD that appeared in 2009. Since then a new drummer and vocalist have joined the folds, and this revised version of If decided that a new name was in order at this point. “Apeirophobia” is the first studio production they released as Ifsounds, and was issued by US label Melodic Revolution Records in 2010.
Musically we’re dealing with a fairly ambitious outfit, and on this occasion they explore a sound that mainly stays within a framework whose outer boundaries are formed by Pink Floyd and Rush respectively. Relatively gentle excursions sporting symphonic backdrops with additional sounds and textures of a kind inspired by science fiction and space complement dampened guitar riffs and blues-tinged careful soloing David Gilmour style for the former, while the latter sports energetic riff patterns and keyboards with a more dampened and subservient role. The occasional majestic passage with rich and compact guitar and keyboard constructions is also a part of the package, and by and large this band produce pleasant pieces of progressive rock of the accessible variety.
Their new vocalist Elena Ricci is a fine addition to this band. She’s got a good and pleasant voice, and while my impression is that she’s far from fully developed yet she has the talent and capability to be able to lift a song by her input alone at best. The main example of this on this production to be found in the epic title track that takes up the final slot on this disc, where her voice really makes a grand impression in a sequence sporting more of a jazz-oriented expression. The one where the piano takes the lead, if anyone familiar with this CD should be curious.
The title track an experience worth a paragraph of it’s own, clocking in at just under half an hour and exploring a great variety of moods and expressions. Opening as a gentle, warm and rich affair that sounds like a piece of music residing in the exact middle between late 70’s Pink Floyd and early 80’s Vangelis, a theme later revisited incidentally, and later on visiting shamanistic folk-inspired territories, taking on an expression with closer links to Flamenco, the aforementio0ned jazzy insert also a part of the proceedings alongside a pacier AOR-tinged one and sequences with more of a distinct Floydian feel as well. Great variety, many compelling parts but not at the level that makes this one any more rewarding than your average epic length creation. A good construction with moments of brilliance.
The most intriguing composition as far as I’m concerned is the second to last one actually. A piece very much different from the rest of this production, sporting a careful piano motif supplemented by strings. A warm, rich, sad and distinctly melancholic instrumental, and an impressive one at that. It is difficult to write and perform such pieces in a manner that does make an impression, but this one succeeded quite nicely at that.
If you enjoy late 70’s Pink Floyd and bands like aforementioned Rush, Ifsounds latest creation Apeirophobia is a CD you might want to lend an ear too. A nice and pleasant album in general, and if you have an interest in productions of a conceptual nature you’ll get those cravings catered fore quite nicely too. Including the use of cinematic lead-ins and lead outs to emphasize the nature of the story told.