Garofano Rosso is an instrumental album. Now, why would a band with such a prominent singer as Banco del Mutuo Soccorso record an instrumental album? Because behind Francesco Di Giacomo's voice one finds strong instrumental compositional skills. And so the band was asked to write and record a soundtrack for the movie Garofano Rosso. (Keyboardists Vittorio and Gianni Nocenzi would later write a handful of other soundtracks, both together and separately.) But the album is not the actual soundtrack; two tracks, "Zobeida" and "Funerale," don't appear in the final cut, and the band fiddled with the track order to make things more interesting. Therefore, Garofano Rosso stands as a good album on its own, not as exciting as Darwin! or Io Sono Nato Libero, and not as impressive (or pompous) as Banco's other instrumental LP Di Terra, but still an honest effort. The main theme found in the title track appears in a few more places, bringing unity to the work. "Giugno 1924" and "Suggestioni di un Ritorno in Campagna" deserve to find their way in a Banco anthology, while "Esterno Notte (Casa di Giovanni)" makes a pretty waltz. The movie's subject was the rise of fascism in post-World War I Italy, but paradoxically the music remains rather calm and pastoral. That and the shortness of the pieces can be disorienting at first for the listener accustomed to the band's more usual prog rock sound. Those fond of Di Giacomo's talent will have the impression something is missing.
AllMusic Review by François Couture