Manicomio 4 (Asylum 4) who hail from Piacenza, Italy release ‘The EP’, a follow up to the very promising debut ‘Primo Respiro’.

Original music from Italy tends to be in the classic singer-songwriter mode usually with a nod to Neapolitan or Sicilian folk music, euro pop in style with interesting melodies but heartless and barren of emotion, or hometown bands who express themselves with their local dialects so isolating themselves from a bigger public.

Can you be mainstream but still have something worth saying whilst keeping the music real? That’s what Manicomio 4 try to do, getting it right a lot of the time.

‘Social Network Anestesia’ kicks off ‘The EP’ attempting to condemn our apparent numbness of thought and action as social media networks which seemingly promote interaction yet ultimately the actual communication is always done whilst in isolation, often just waiting on a ‘like’. The closing lines of ‘” Your neurons are slowly dying” bully’s the listener almost, a rough edged guitar batters the senses. It’s an instant classic.

‘Caganero’ is a blues based number with endearing vocal hooks that Pippo Casazza, singer of the band, taunts and plays with as he sings about the aimless and senseless rise and fall of binge drinkers. It’s fun, groovy and danceable.

‘Mi basta dire tuo nome’ is an out and out pop song, with delicious guitar hooks guiding it smoothly to dreamland. It’s ‘Beatlesque’ in it’s structure, charming and seductive in both it’s narrative and melody, admirably played by the band.

‘Deambulazione Virtuale’ is a punk style anthem à la Ramones with a great chorus that will have you singing long after the song has ended. A song about the mundane back and forth way we conduct our lives unless we can “let go” and abandon ourselves to our emotions.

‘Fobia’ is a strange animal with lyrics that evoke fear and our pray on our phobias. ‘Demonesque’ in its execution with acute jabs of guitar, bass and drums permeating the song. Not for everybody maybe but unique in both style and deliverance and my personal favourite.

The EP closes with more of the continuing saga of Felice Fustazzo. The goodhearted but flawed Felice as found on the debut album has become a vindictive, lecherous middle aged minor politician whose ideals have all become distorted or worse abandoned. A folk anthem for the politicians of today in Italy.

‘The EP’ is the band’s personal take on the present day apathy and avarice that permeates older and younger generations. Musically angular and edgy its worth repeated listens.

Get crasy, let yourself succumb to this madness and step inside the Manicomio 4.

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