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Go to the Giardini di Mirò website  Giardini di Mirò - Punk... not diet [2.nd rec - 2003]

At first an instrumental band, Giardini di Mirò have little by little incorporated more and more vocals in their music. Punk ... not diet, their 2nd full-length is a real masterpiece of beautifully written pop songs. But do not mistake pop with easy...

While many post-rock bands indulge in very long composition with complex structures (most of the time undermining the quality of the music –GY!BE being one of the few exceptions, managing to remain utterly challenging and compelling), Giardini di Mirò have left this route to come back to the basics of good songwriting, a much more difficult craft to master. Mind you, they have not been the first to do so: Mogwai have tried taking the same path, the difference being that they opted for the 70’s way and have become very dull (to my ears at least).

I guess this album won’t prove revolutionary in the music world but I dare say this will bring much needed fresh hair in pop music. All eight songs are absolutely beautiful. Five of them feature the vocals of Alessandro Reina and one those of Kaye and Christy Brewster. Other guests include Styrofoam and Nitrada who provide nice little electronic touches intertwining perfectly with the other instruments.

From their post-rock past, Giardini di Mirò have kept the aerial, epic sound albeit much more humble than many of their peers’ music. Here is no pretence, just wonderful music and a very rich instrumentation serving the melodies in the best of ways. Electric, baritone and acoustic guitars, banjo, moog, fender rhodes, saxophone, clarinet, viola, accordion, trumpet... The palette is large and used masterfully.  Not once did I think “this is too much” or “this is unnecessary”.

Punk... not diet is released just at the start of the summer but it is no record to indulge to a sea, sex and sun vacation to. The mood is too melancholic for this, the music too subtle.  It is rather a late afternoon of September in the countryside.  You have just picnicked with your girlfriend/boyfriend and your remain silent looking at the valley and at the sun coming down in the sky, reddening the horizon. A warm breeze blows. You feel oddly nostalgic. You feel happy. You’re madly in love. If only it could never stop. Unfortunately, it will after 44 minutes and 58 seconds. But still, you have to feel grateful to Giardini di Mirò for having made you feel this way.

Whatever the seasons, one thing is sure: I will keep on listening to Punk... not diet for a long long time. This is one gem of an album. Some will say the best Italian pop album of 2003, others will say the best pop album of 2003. I won’t accept anything less than the best pop album in years. It is that good...

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

François Monti
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