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ALiX - Last Dreamer

Last Dreamer
by SJ Loschi at 24 January 2023, 5:42 AM

Italian psychedelic/stoner/garage/pysch-blues band ALIX first formed in Bologna way back in the pre-Internet days in 1997.  They’ve sporadically produced albums in the last twenty-five years, even recording with the legendary Steve Alibini in 2008 and joining his band SHELLAC on their 2009 tour. In 2012 they were invited to play at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival with bands like NEUROSIS and RED FANG. They even shared the stage with  MUSE and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE at one time.  So the band’s latest album “Last Dreamer” comes tinged with the mixed feelings of having almost made it to being able to do whatever the hell you want after playing on the fringes of popularity for two decades. It’s a fun, bluesy, rocking album that was clearly made with a lot of Italian love, and if you’re a fan of the more exploratory side of metal-adjacent genres, then “Last Dreamer” is a special kind of treat.

First song “Anymore” opens up with a Zeppelin-esque groove, with big, Bonham-like drums and a mid-gain guitar that swings and swaggers atop the rhythm section.  Lead singer Alice Albertazzi’s unique vocals float over the testosterone-fueled music with the delicacy of a songbird.  The vocals are adventurous, with layered harmonies and subtle variances on the melody.  It’s what sets ALIX apart from other bands in the ‘stoner’ ilk. At times Alice sounds like a Karen O with a severe lack of self-confidence, and I mean that in the best way possible.  In addition, there’s no lack of pass-the-joint psychedelic noodling on the album, but it never comes across as something that isn’t done with fidelity.  There’s not enough of it to become overwhelming, and there’s just enough of it to make the listening experience over thirty minutes seem much shorter than that.

Ride the Light” carries the beating heart of the 1970s with it, sounding like URIAH HEEP on a generational spaceship bound for a five-century journey to the next available solar system.  Pippo De Palma’s guitars weave in and out of the groove, fingers playing thick blues riffs while Alice pleads for the listener to ride the light and revel in sweet dreams.  The song segues into “Empty Space,” a four-minute exploration that seems to honor the Texan-swagger of old ZZ TOP and the glory of the dobro guitar.  Again, Alice’s voice is barely there, like a tumbleweed blown over the floor of a drought-stricken plain in the middle of July.  “Light Is On” is an upbeat, swirling song that has the hallmarks of some of the more psychedelic Sub Pop bands like LOVE BATTERY- a repetitive groove that lays a foundation for De Palma to run up and down the neck of the guitar in a celebration of the blues. “Crash” could be an outtake from an early album by the YEAH YEAH YEAHS, the one song where Alice really lets loose vocally, making it one of the album’s highlights.

There’s a celebratory feel to “Last Dreamer” that’s almost infectious.  This is clearly a labor of rock and roll love. The guys in ALIX by now have settled into their lives, and are lucky enough to make their music a central part of that.  At the end of the day, the laundry list of bands that ALIX has rubbed shoulders with- while part of the lore- aren’t really any more successful than this small, eager band from central Italy.  ALIX is making music that they love, and they’ve invited all of us along to enjoy their bluesy, psychedelic, rocking and be part of the dream, even if it is the last one.  And there’s nothing more successful than that.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Anymore
2. Last Dreamer
3. Ride Your Light
4. Empty Space
5. Sweetly Waiting
6. Light Is On
7. Crash
8. Why Don’t You
Alice Albertazzi - Vocals, Tambourine
Pippo De Palma - Guitars
Gianfranco Romanelli - Bass, Dobro
Andrea Insulla - Drums
Record Label: Go Down Records


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