Almamegretta

Quattro/Quatri

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AllMusic Review by

Almamegretta indicated in online interviews that Quattro/Quatri was designed to blend techniques from 1998's Lingo with the musical world of 1995's Sanacore. "The Cheap Guru" immediately confirms a couple of things -- the driving reggae groove, this one built on an adapted Robbie Shakespeare bassline from his days with Black Uhuru, and the group's dub sensibility is back. So is the way the textures shine through -- the music on Quattro/Quatri doesn't seem borrowed from other sources à la Lingo. Almamegretta has brought in some new elements, like the overfuzz bass on "Bruscia," the loopy ambient hip-hop of "O Mmeglio D'a Vita," and the almost lush piano and strings on "Venus." Singer Rais plays a more noticeable role, be it with breathy, whispered vocals ("Alta Fedelta"), near crooning ("Brucia"), or on the chunky, punky ska reggae of "Sempre," a no-sound science pop tune with a catchy chorus that winds up sounding like an Italian Bryan Ferry fronting the Specials. A vocal sample that sounds suspiciously like British punk poet John Cooper Clarke launches a bit of a dub attack on "Mbikili" that seamlessly blends into the funky bassline and drums of "Riboulez le Kick." "Sahinko's Blues," featuring Tuvan throat singer Sahinko Namchylak's treated vocals, rocks hard, and "Camisa Doce" revisits that overfuzz bass keyboard to create a menacing atmosphere. Almamegretta's U.K. adventure with Lingo wasn't enough of a drop-off to rate Quattro/Quatri as a return to form, but it's nice to hear the group get back to working new creative variations on its own intriguing sound basics.