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Pooh - 1988 Oasi



ARTIST: Pooh
ALBUM: Oasi
LABEL: CGD
SERIAL: CGD 20852 (LP), CDS 6110 (CD)
YEAR: 1988

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Roby Facchinetti - vocals, keyboards * Dodi Battaglia - guitar, vocals * Stefano D'Orazio - drums, percussion, vocals * Red Canzian - bass, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Senza Frontiere * 02 Che Vuoi Che Sia * 03 Io Da Solo * 04 Ti Dir• * 05 La Ragazza Con Gli Occhi Di Sole * 06 Linea Calda * 07 Niente A Parte L'Amore * 08 Stare Bene Fa Bene * 09 Due Donne * 10 Nell'Erba, Nell'Acqua, Nel Vento

WEBLINKS: www.pooh.it


Background
I've been indulging in some very rewarding AOR tourism of late, this time touching down in Italy to bring you an 80's disc by that country's evergreen AOR kings Pooh. Now Eric has already reviewed their 1979 platter 'Viva', he's also been a frequent consultant on the AOR tourism I mentioned earlier. Long may it continue! Now to the band in question, Pooh have a similar history to Golden Earring and Omega, already testing the waters in the late 60's but, like the aforementioned giants, by the late 70's AOR was very firmly on the agenda, and would be until the mid 90's. Another similarity is the feverish fandom they earned from their home fans, untouchable in Italy. Support was forthcoming across Europe as well to varying degrees, and a significant enough Japanese fan base evolved, seeing the band tour there successfully. By the late 80's they were probably a little off their commercial late 70's peak, but not by much. Their albums and singles were still hits, and tours were massive drawcards. They could put on one hell of a show as well. By 1988 it was 'Oasi's turn, what does it have to offer?


The Songs
'Senza Frontiere' emerges out of some great pomp bombast to establish a relentless driving rhythm. That drum sound is pretty cavernous and the melodies add that burst of espresso to an AOR anthem for the ages. The call and response chorus hits you hard, all four band members are capable singers and they pack a serious punch in the backing vocals department. Urgent, classic AOR in the vein of 'The Seventh One' era Toto. 'Che Vuoi Che Sia' evokes every power ballad hallmark, gentle at times but the choruses are enormous and full of supporting guitar power. One very happy tourist sipping my AOR espresso at this point. 'Io Da Solo' brings on a slightly more west coast approach, even a hint of slow funk into the mix. Think on the lighter side of Toto with Ambrosia sitting in and you're there. Admittedly not my favourite side of AOR, but this is done with real class, special mention to Battaglia's blistering outro solo. 'Ti Diro' continues the Toto preoccupation, caught between 'Fahrenheit' and 'The Seventh One'. This is midtempo treasure, a snappy hook in place and the chorus is carried off without backing vocals - and none the worse for it, refilling my espresso with ease. A bit of guitar and synth solo interplay adding the cream, does European AOR get any better than this? 'La Ragazza Con Gli Occhi Di Sole' is the pure midnight ballad on the album, pure romance that glides along like one of those 80's Julio Iglesias tracks. A little too schmaltzy for my taste, but again I have to admit, really well done for what it is.

'Linea Calda' soothes any ruffled feathers though, returning midtempo AOR to front and centre, there is something effortless about this melody, the staccato keyboard bits and aquatic guitar fills really stay with you long after dark. 'Niente A Parte L'Amore' is a tricky one, starting out so gently you want to hit the snooze button. Patience is rewarded though, rising up to a near midtempo and that wall of vocals I mentioned earlier coupled with stern chorus riffage to flatten any doubts. Another AOR power ballad of highest class, and I cannot fail to mention Battaglia's fills and solos which recall Neal Schon's 'Beyond The Thunder'. 'Stare Bene Fa Bene' starts the engine with some charming old school organ bits, ascending quickly to another midtempo, again I'm loving the big drum sound. Instead of a spiky riff for a hook, the track is built around a looping guitar fill, brilliantly done, add to that a terrific simple chorus that is again carried off without backing vocals. I enjoyed the way the organ eventuates through the track as well, a comparison is hard to pin down, suffice to say the red warning light on my AOR coffee meter is pulsating. 'Due Donne' takes the mid ballad route again, maybe not a highlight on the album but passable. Closing track 'Nell'erba Nell'acqua Nel Vento' is on a different level though. This one sits in muscular 80's Journey territory and doesn't need to take a backward step for said AOR giant. Urgent tempo, exquisite hooks and stinging guitar runs are all in place, but that chorus will just sweep you away. Wall of vocals? Not an adequate description this time. Having thought long and hard on what to say right here, any way I look at it this is one of the finest AOR tracks I've heard in my life. Apart from sounding incredible, it just seems to taste right. There is nothing I expect from an AOR classic that is not delivered in spades here.


In Summary
'Oasi' performed well for Pooh as most of their 80's work did, hitting all the right AOR check points but delivered with class and power. Having watched a sell out concert from this tour on Youtube, it's clear they were still a major drawcard who put on a dazzling show. If you can handle AOR sung in Italian, my advice is to check these guys out urgently. More to follow soon.


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Comments
#1 | Eric on December 08 2013 19:00:17
Thumbs up!
#2 | AOR Lee on December 10 2013 05:09:23
Still wondering how I missed these guys until recently, guess I was very wrapped up in 'English lyrics only' mode. Great to see the concert up here. Oasi is one of three 2012 remasters I bought, great packages despite the digipack format. Crisp sound as well, comparable to the recent BJH remasters. Money well spent, and more reviews to come computer work
 
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