Armonite are a progressive rock duo from Italy made up of composer Paolo Fosso and violinist Jacopo Bigi. The group, which was originally formed in 1996 released their debut album in 1999 before splitting for 15 years. Now that they have reformed, they have put together a follow-up effort entitled “The Sun Is New Each Day”. The album was recorded in Italy, produced and mixed by Paul Reeve (who has previously worked with Muse) and mastered in the legendary Abbey Road Studios. The group also enlisted Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin and Dutch drummer Jasper Barendregt to fill out their lineup.
The opening track is entitled “Suitcase War” and it kicks off with the violin and keyboard playing an epic unison line, while the bombastic drums and bass groove together. The whole thing has this sense of uneasiness, like a ship rocking in a storm. The whole thing is generally lead by the violin, which is an unusual instrument to be used as the main focus in this style of music but it almost works too well.
“Connect Four” begins with retro sounding synths that feel like they’ve been ripped out of an old 8bit game. The mix of computerised sounds with the folky sounding violin makes for a very interesting contrast.
“Sandstorm” (which, thankfully, isn’t a Darude cover) returns to franticness of the albums opener, this time with a sort of middle eastern feel to it. It’s a great track but I can’t help but feel that at times Barendregt’s drumming is a little too heavy-handed, opting to use double kick drums at times where it would be nice to sit back and groovy, leaving the focus on the tasty melodies.
“Die Grauen Herren” is a track that I feel really showcases the duos classical background. They have created numerous sections that feel as though they would work very well in a classical piece of music, but they perform them with the style and conviction of a progressive rock band, creating something really unique and satisfying.
The penultimate song, “Le temps qui fait ta rose”, takes a much more sombre approach than most of the material found on the album. Focuses solely on piano and violin, it’s an opportunity to hear the duo stripped back creating something really beautiful.
The final tune is “Insert Coin” and it returns to the retro sound found earlier on the album, even featuring samples of sound effects from Super Mario Bros. The high energetic track definitely serves as a fitting ending to the album.
Armonite’s sophomore effort is short and sweet, just barely passing the half hour mark. This serves them well as they’ve managed to release an album of instrumental and somewhat progressive rock that’s well paced and doesn’t get stale before you reach the end of it. It’s definitely worth your time if this style of music is your thing.