Review: Granato – Canzoni per Giovani Adulti (Songs for Young Adults) (2022)

Granato are an Italian new wave band who release their second album `Canzoni per Giovani Adulti` (Songs for Young Adults) this month which is the follow up to their 2017 release `Corrente`. The album featured members Francesco Bianco (vocals, guitar and electronics), Alessandro Cicala (guitar and electronics) and Dario Giuffrida (drums, electronics, mixing and mastering) before the drummer left the band. The lyrics of the album are socio-political thoughts about our society, about how capitalism and consumerism affect our life, and are heavily inspired by Italian intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini.

The album opens with `La camera di Viola`(Viola`s room) a reflection on alienation, an allegory of an existential state which, in our mass and consumer society, excludes no one. It opens with a rhythmic electronic beat and vocals that are almost whispered but evolves as it progresses.

The drumbeat grows in volume as does the vocal and it retains a captivating, dreamy texture about it. There`s a much faster paced quite rock like offering with `Il tempo libero` (leisure – free time) which relates to a worker struggling for the best way to consume their free time and has a twisted ending. The vocals are shared in a quite sardonic tone. The band have previously released an alternative version recorded live at the Global Village in Rome.

`La giostra`(the carousel) retains that faster tempo but with the softly understated vocals and a constant synth beat it becomes delightfully mesmerising and closes out with a subtly shared guitar solo. The lyrics relate to how market forces seem to influence our lifestyles. We have a much more introspective submission with `Di nuovo` (Again) which appears to be a kind of contemplation on a relationship. It`s a spellbinding slow burn with a calm vocal which seems to have been supplied by guest artist Solo (Giuseppe Galato). We also enjoy an enthralling restrained guitar solo towards the end. It`s another track which was previously released in an alternative form recorded live at the Global Village in Rome.

Complessità (Complexity) is a sort of dreamlike soundscape. A piece that is mostly instrumental but does have a brief vocal segment midway which seems to break the two halves of aural pleasure. The song is about the complexity of the planet we live in. The band have related ”The world is certainly complex, but everything is explainable, the situation we are in (“we don’t recognise each other and we don’t shake hands”) is explainable”. We have a quite Kraftwerk influenced electronic driven number in `Enter Price` where the words are shared through a vocoder. It`s a cryptic musing on what our freedom truly costs us. There`s some intricate guitar chords shared throughout this absorbing track. 

`In macchina`(In The Car) talks about the relationship between man and machine and much, much more. It alludes to environmental effects and also political undertones. It`s an entrancing quite buoyant noisy composition with grinding guitar riffs, a constant electronic drum beat and vocals that almost float atop and what sounds like orchestral strings near the end. The album closes with `Grano` (Grain) which the band relate “ The Piana del Sele is one of many examples where there is intense exploitation of agricultural workers and where immense quantities of pollutants are used by agricultural production companies. At the sanctuary overlooking the Plain, we ask to perform a miracle: purify the air and the earth. The form of prayer is not about religion, but about spirituality. The materialist, functionalist, nominalist, scientific, technical drift of our world is leading to the annihilation of man’s natural spirituality”. The band collaborated with Rosanna Salati on this ghostly quite ethereal and almost spiritual arrangement. A track that sounds quite otherworldly one minute and quite intense at other times as it develops.

I have to say although `Canzoni per Giovani Adulti` is just over thirty minutes in length I found it kind of took over my life. There`s a thought provoking intelligence about their lyrics which encompass a variety of political and social causes and inequalities. These beliefs and ideals are shared across a musical platform which is at times delightfully hypnotic, rocky, and wonderfully danceable, which to me is a much more subtle and effective way of sharing your moral values.

`Canzoni per Giovani Adulti` (Songs for Young Adults) is an absorbing and overwhelmingly passionate listen. Allow Granato a little time to take over your life, I guarantee that they will not disappoint.

Rating 9/10