Peter Primamore

Grancia

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Peter Primamore's background is in TV and movie soundtracks, a fact which is pretty obvious on Grancia, his debut album as a named bandleader. Fronting a band that includes bassist Tony Levin, drummer Jerry Marotta (yes, that's Peter Gabriel's rhythm section), guitarist Chieli Minucci, a string section and assorted other players, Primamore has done something that you wouldn't necessarily think was possible -- he's created an album of sweetly melodic, classically-inflected instrumental pop music that remains effortlessly accessible throughout but somehow avoids both neo-romantic treacle and simplistically mystical new agey-ness. Granted, the various tracks do sort of run together a bit as you listen, but that's not necessarily a bad thing -- after all, you could say the same thing about a whole album of Vivaldi violin concertos. What's interesting is that Primamore's music is most powerful when he's not trying to rock out. The pentatonic melodies and open harmonies of the mid-tempo "Silver Stones" pack far more of a wallop than the much more rhythmically driven but paradoxically wimpy "Free Western" or "Russia Through Your Eyes," a number that sounds like it's trying to fly but never quite gets off the ground. Even those tracks, though, are quite enjoyable and the album as a whole is a pleasure.

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