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Franck Carducci

Torn Apart

Review by Gary Hill

The latest set from Franck Carducci should please progressive rock fans. For one thing, there’s a guest appearance from Steve Hackett. The thing is, it works very well, even without that kind of star power. The sound ranges from hard rocking prog to mellower. A lot of this makes me think of Marillion, but even then it’s not restricted to one era of that band. All in all, this is quite a strong set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Torn Apart

The start and stop concept early in this is a bit like old school Rush to me. It explodes out into some Dream Theater like jamming before modulating to more of a straightahead hard rock vibe. As the keyboards and other elements join it gets ,more into progressive rock territory. The vocals are more tied to bluesy hard rock, and some of the jamming that follows is. We’re taken into an instrumental jam later that almost feels like ELP does Deep Purple. There are some moments that don’t seem far removed from Yes as this continues, too. Then a mellow little motif takes it later, holding it for a time. It explodes back out into another hard rock meets prog groove from there, this time with a bit of a Rush flair. We’re taken back into the song proper from that point. Some more smoking hot jamming emerges after that next vocal section. At over ten minutes in length, this is an extended number.

Closer to Irreversible
Featuring Steve Hackett, this comes in like more of a moody, but intricate, balladic piece. After the first verse it powers out to a slow bluesy jam. Still, there is prog in the mix here. In a lot of ways this seems like what you might get if you spliced a more proggy arrangement on something by Gary Moore.
Journey Through the Mind
The fast paced opening section here definitely calls to mind Fish era Marillion. It turns out to more of an AOR rocker from there, though. That Marillion like jam returns again later. The whole piece makes me think of Marillion quite a bit, but older Marillion. 
Artificial Love
This is a fairly short cut. It’s also very powerful. It definitely makes me think of Marillion, but Hogarth era Marillion. It’s one of the most consistent (and one of my favorite) songs of the set.
A Brief Tale of Time
A mellower cut at first, the vocals really drive this. It makes me think of Starcastle, Genesis and even Yes a bit. It starts with a keyboard driven movement and works out from there into an acoustic guitar based arrangement. Then it turns to more of a melodic rocker after that. It’s definitely progressive rock, but definitely on the AOR side of the equation. Then it shifts to a very Yes-like jam from there. It works to a powerful, keyboard dominated movement beyond that. It’s rocking and a little strange. It also calls to mind ELP a little and is great. That gives way to a mellow movement from there. Pink Floyd is a valid reference on that section in some ways. Piano completely takes over around the twelve minute mark and eventually takes the piece out with a little accompaniment.
Girlfriend for a Day
Piano starts this and the vocals call to mind Hogarth a bit. The cut works out as a mainstream mellow rocker. As the arrangement gets more involved references to Genesis, ELP and even The Beatles are appropriate at times.
Mr. Hyde & Dr. Jekyll
A killer hard rocking riff opens this. It shifts out to something that has a lot of fusion in the mix from there. This is a great rocking groove. It’s like Stevie Ray Vaughn turned more proggy. It definitely gets into some pretty serious prog territory. That said, it’s very much AOR prog. It’s also quite tasty.
Artificial Paradises
This awesome progressive rocker is another that makes me think of Hogarth era Marillion in a lot of ways. There are some particularly dramatic shifts and changes built into this magnificent beast. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the set and is quite powerful and dynamic. Around the five minute mark it drops to a school yard recitation of “Humpty Dumpty.” Then it powers out into an instrumental jam that makes me think of Fish era Marillion a lot. More shifts and changes emerge until we brought into a piano based, balladic section. It eventually evolves back into the song proper to continue from there.
School (Bonus Track)
Although this is a bonus track, it’s actually one of my favorites here. It’s a reinterpretation of the classic Supertramp song. If anything it’s more proggy than the original. Yet, it loses none of the magic. It’s definitely different, but similar enough to be pretty instantly recognizable. It’s a great tune either way. I love the original, but I think I like this version just as much as that one.
 
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