Marco Sfogli – reMarcoble
JTC Records – 2012
Marco Sfogli sets the table for this skillfully melodic album with his “Intro.” The Italian wundkind- guitarist plays a minute and a quarter of pretty guitar that establishes both gorgeous tone and a high degree of musicianship.
The clean rhythm guitar in “Jester’s Tears” is wonderful and a perfect backdrop for Sfogli to add super-fueled lead work on top of it. The bass, keyboards and drums are superbly played and keep the song’s rhythmic structure intact. Sfogli’s got amazing control and an innate feel for when to burn or cool down.
I love when a hard rock and metal guitarist incorporates funky guitar riffs because they make the music fun. Marco plays such a cool funky riff in “The Reaction.” His playing in this tune is really an acknowledgement to I believe his favorite guitar player Andy Timmons. Sfogli jams on this pattern to take his guitar into all sorts of exciting realms that honor the former Danger Danger Texas guitarist.
Sfogli couldn’t title the fourth track any better than “reMarcoble.” He plays lightning fast picking runs over a big chunky riff that is done with expert guitar marksmanship. The pleasing succession of sounds is always kept at a premium and he even slows down to take a breather mid-way thru. Marco’s tone in this track reminds me a little of Tony MacAlpine. The run that takes you out of the song is sick.
The guitarist gets into a Satriani-like groove in “Far From Me.” It’s amazing how the gentle acoustic riff can be transposed into a heavy distorted lick with equal measure. Sfogli lays his heart out on the line with his passionate expression. The drum work is fantastic and memorable.
“Heartburn” has a dark beginning that leads into heavy distorted guitar that‘s syncopated with the pounding drums. The bass is strong in this song. Sfogli’s quick picking really stands out and displays his talented ability. But the most important thing is rooted in the arrangement of notes.
There’s an excellent video of “The Forest” you can watch on YouTube. The camera angle is just positioned on Marco’s hands and his purple zebra Ibanez guitar. It’s a great way to see how effortless and fluid he plays all the guitar parts on this seven-minute song. From the unadulterated, almost acoustic to ripping shredding, it’s all right there to behold. His performance is flawless and the song itself shows Sfogli’s mature grasp of music. The saxophone towards the end is a nice touch.
I wonder if “Father To Son” is about Marco’s relationship with his father or his son? The song has a warm relaxed groove that flows with love and compassion. It’s obvious that Sfogli is playing it for someone that means a lot to him. I love the way he breaks into the solo section; 2 minutes and 37 seconds into the track. He holds onto the song’s recurring alternations, while embellishing it with some monster runs. He smartly brings it back to some dual harmonizing, kind of like a representation of a father and son joining together. Poignant work.
The sad, dark series of guitar notes in “Save Yourself” is highlighted by a lively keyboard that lifts the tune up. Marco’s main distorted guitar sings out this rocking tune with graceful explosive authoritative command. I’m guessing the keyboards are from Matt Guillory, Sfogli’s band mate in James Labrie’s band. The keys and the way they integrate together have the familiar dynamic interrelation the two musicians have developed since the Elements of Persuasion (2005) album.
“Song of Ben and C” begins a beautiful acoustic guitar that is sparked with life and love. The cymbal percussion works beautifully with the guitar. Sfogli implements a smooth jazz distortion less guitar that shows another element of his ever expanding range.
With “The Barbarian,” Sfogli goes out of this album with a forceful explanation point, punctuated by the hard striking active drums. The notes and tone of the instrumentation that hit midway through are cool and atmospheric.
reMarcoble is appropriately titled for not only this fantastic second solo album, but about the guitarist himself.