Sailor Free — The Fifth Door
(The Labyrinth TL2004, 1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-03-01Progsters or posers? Does it really matter? Sailor Free is an Italian four-piece whose sound incorporates elements of psychedelic hard rock, grunge, progressive, and ethnic influences into a sound they are comfortable with and know well. Clearly these guys are a lot more accessible than your standard progressive fare, but like Landberk, they do it so well and with such authority that it makes you stop and wonder why you like all that complex stuff anyway. Vocalist and main-mover David Petrosino leads the band through eleven tracks mostly in the four-to-five minute range, his voice excellent and appropriate for the material, falling somewhere between Jim Kerr (Simple Minds) and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), but with a bit more Morrisonesque darkness. The English lyrics are handled superbly with nary a trace of an accent. He's also the band's keyboardist, playing piano, Mellotron, Minimoog, VCS3, and other vintage contraptions. Guitars are provided by "The Hook," with an incisive psychedelic style that drives home a solid connection with the past. The rhythm unit of Alphonso Nini (bass) and Stephano Tony (drums) handle their duties capably, bringing a raw energy into the mix, and also showing remarkable restraint when required. Additional musicians provide saxes, violin, oud, and female vocals on one track. Overall, Sailor Free is a winner, honest and unpretentious, though how much you enjoy it will depend largely on how much you enjoy the more accessible song-structured music of mainstream rock. Still, I'd take one Sailor Free over ten SI neo-prog bands or Dream Theater wannabes any day.
Related artist(s): Sailor Free
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