Blue Willa is the debut album by the Italian art rock quartet bearing that same name. The band had been touring and recording for years under the name Baby Blue, but then they decide it that the time has come for change and came up with a brand new identity: Blue Willa.
They explains: “Continuing a story which lasted seven years and three records so far, we decided to carry on our pursuit for a sound that would fit neatly onto our ideas asking a person we unquestionably loved to help us fulfill it.
We called on Carla Bozulich, whom we had met in Florence some four years ago, and she immediately got involved and interested in our plans.
We spent ten days in the Italian countryside, working side by side with her and our sound engineer, Davide Cristiani. Carla took care of our songs and sounds, proposing shapes and a whole new imagery for them. She made our sounds feel aquatic, ringing and overturned: a sort of underwater punk rock music from the Thirties.
This music then went on to be mixed and fixed on the Himalayan mountainside and in Paris: it is a pleasant thought for us to imagine that something from these places – as well from our provinces – got entangled and caught inside these songs.”
And well, this is really a journey to folk flavored punk, psychedelic rock and vivid experimentalism, but also to yet undiscovered places, unrevealed sounds.
While “Good Glue” it’s a raging hardcore punk fueled song, the most of the other tracks are a vivid mixture of dream pop and psychedelic rock with different flavors from folk to blues, and from garage sounding indie rock to edge cutting, sometimes contorted and dizzy experiments (“Moan” for instance). But “Cruel Chain” reminded me of the furious brilliance of 12 Rounds as well.
Serena Alessandra Altavilla – vocals, guitar, percussion; Mirko Maddaleno – guitar, vocals; Lorenzo Maffucci – bass and Graziano Ridolfo – drums, percussion with Californian producer and musician Carla Bozulich (Evangelista, The Geraldine Fibbers, Scarnella, Ethyl Meatplow) created a gloomy, extremely gently layered, colorful universe.
So, between the noisy “Fishes” and the menacing whispers of the closing “Spider”, Blue Willa surprise us with each turn they take throughout this sometimes dreamy, other time tumultuous journey.
They reveals the secret: “The affinities between the band and Carla draw a dazing route that keeps drifting halfway through Pixies and Diamanda Galás, Kurt Weill and Iggy Pop. What we have here is a mashup of sweltering Mediterranean melodic heritage and hypnotic native American calls, soundscapes that could emerge from reveries by Edgar Allan Poe or Italo Calvino, eerie noises and animals, bells, gypsies and punks.”
Art punk? I thought both, art and punk lost their tooth and essence on the long way back of destruction and disintegration by the almighty consumer society, but it seems not everything it’s lost yet. Blue Willa found their own path of expression and – probably – of salvation.
This kind of experiments are definitively not for everybody, but for those who are still searching for genuine music and creativity, who have a kind of nostalgia for the golden age of hippie psychedelia and also love the unpolished rawness of the punk era, Blue Willa might definitively hold some revelations. Enjoy!