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Loco IronicoLoco Ironico
Album: Carpe Afternoon
Label: Discovery
Tracks: 11
Website: http://www.locoironico.com

Summer's here and the time is right for… not doing very much, actually. At least as far as singer songwriter Joe Cang and musician composer Matteo Saggese - collectively Loco Ironico - are concerned. According to the title track if you're properly rested then it's past midday and already too late to seize the day, so better 'carpe afternoon', capiche?

This debut outing is a curious affair. On first listen it offers pleasing enough aural wallpaper, an unobtrusive blend of café jazz with a Gypsy hue, a few Latin lanes and some smoky Tango tra-la-la. All very 'vintage fair', catch you at Goodwood, if you get my drift. But then…

A closer examination of the CD sleeve and booklet reveals the album was recorded by Jerry Boys, the four-time Grammy winner whose CV includes The Beatles, Stones, Floyd, John Lee Hooker, REM, Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure in a single breath. Then there's the rhythm section - Elton John drummer Danny Cummings and Fela Kuti bassist Davide Mantovani - plus a guest list that numbers Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), Tony Remy (Crusaders), John Parricelli (Goldfrapp), Sarah Jane Morris (Communards), Steve Sidwell (Stevie Wonder), Dario Deidda (Gil Evans) and (Roy's boy) Ben Castle who's played with Radiohead among others.

Dig a little deeper and it turns out Joe Cang has worked with Ian Dury, KT Tunstall and Hall & Oates among others, co-writing the Aswad hit Shine; while Matteo Saggese's credits include Il Divo, Zucchero, Celine Dion and Phil Manzanera. Suddenly, the stellar sheen falls into place.

But what of the music?

It's pleasant enough, easy to hear and an undemanding companion while travelling, working or simply hanging around. That's not to disparage it in any way, getting something to sound so smooth and work so well is no easy task. The stirring It's Possible closes the album and comes steeped in the positive vibe that has preceded it. The pick of the bunch finds Wake Up in a steamy Latin-laced jam, the finger-clickin' cool swing of La Dolce Vita dancing out of the speakers and the late night hustler that is Beautiful Land, but in truth any of the tracks here could have their day in your affections.

Got it? Good, I'm off to me hammock…

Nick Churchill
www.thegranvillechambers.co.uk