Oddity (Vocation Records V0C2257, 2011)
Amsterdam-based French multi-instrumentalist Franck Carducci is an emerging talent in the progressive rock scene. His solo album Oddity brings a fresh new voice, with dreamlike characters inspired by English literature and Greek mythology. Carducci’s sound is inspired by the British prog masters of the 1970s and 1980s.
The first piece on the album is an engaging 14+ minute epic titled ‘Achilles,’ which reveals a vocal and guitar style that is remarkably familiar, taking you to early Pendragon (one of the leading British neoprog bands of the 1980s). The delightful acoustic guitar, keyboards and flute melodies will attract Genesis fans.
‘The Quin’ is another lengthy melodic piece where Carducci demonstrates his talent as a vocalist with Pendragonesque vocals, mesmerizing keyboards and a brilliant mix or electric and acoustic guitars and even an unexpected Australian didjeridu.
On ‘The Eyes of Age’ Carducci treats the listener with charming folk-rock, featuring mandolins and fiddle.
‘Alice’s Eerie Dream’ is a long blues rock piece with excellent guitar work, where Carducci shows his licks in Jeff Healy fashion. As much as I like the piece and blues rock, I’m not sure what it’s doing in a progressive rock album.
‘The Last Oddity’ is a beautiful track with several types of keyboards, including the ever popular mellotron. Carducci mixes regular vocals with electronic processed vocals described as ‘ground control voices.’
Franck Carducci plays bass, piano, guitars, drums, and mellotron on the album, accompanied by an excellent cast of musicians, including John Hackett on flute; Phildas Bhakta on drums; Richard Vecchi on keyboards and guitar; Florence Marien on vocals; Michael Strobel on guitar; Niko Leroy on Hammond, synths; Larry Crockett on drums; Marianne Delphin on vocals; Christophe Obadia on guitar and didgeridoo; Vivika Sapori-Sudemäe on violin; Yanne Matis on vocals; Gilles Carducci on mandolin; and Fred Boisson on drums.
The album includes two bonus pieces, Carducci’s version of the Genesis classic ‘The Carpet Crawlers’ featuring violin; and a radio edit of the blues rocker ‘Alice’s Eerie Dream.’
The cover artwork does not do justice to the music.
Oddity is an outstanding album by one of the new talents in the symphonic progressive rock style.