Boom. Back on the reviews tip for me (Apiento) after a little break and great record to do it with. My remit with Test Pressing reviews is to review the stuff that if you spent money on it then it’s money well spent. This is one of them.
Fuga Ronto are from one of the finest bands existing in the “balearic” (in inverted commas intentionally) scene. When Alex in Zurich sent me the first release on Phantom Island a few years back I remember saying to him these guys could do really really well if they go at it. Basically they are clearly musicians. They have songs and song structures and you can imagine them much like Little Dragon or Khurungbin stepping out of the small zone they started in to become something far larger than intended.
Anyway, point being the first record was a stone cold classic for me and got heavily rinsed and this one is no different. It’s seven tracks of pure gold. Well… Six with one intro. It sounds incredible in the sun (thanks summer for finally arriving for a few days) and is just perfect. A spoken intro rolls you into Fugaville before you get ‘Greatest Treasure’. I’d normally call this the lead track as people always put the strong stuff at track two and three and the weird stuff on the flip but they are all pretty much lead tracks… Anyway, it’s classic Fuga. A sounds of their own making. A world beat. ‘Falling Star’ is just as strong and again mixes the languages in their own way.
They make strong use of what you call ‘melismas’ in classical music. Words that are frequently extended into sounds. Moriconne makes strong use of this. Fact for the day - as it is impossible to sing a consonant, it makes both musical and physical sense to lengthen the part of the word you sing – the vowel.
Anyway, back to the program, ‘Columbo De Domingo’ has a Steely Dan feel. Well if Steely Dan made instrumental dance records. Sweet chord changes and jazz moves. As ever the organic percussion rolling in and around the beat. And thats the A side. Worth buying for that alone to be honest but flip it and the first track is ‘Mirror To Water’ – a sound that feels like it would have fit perfectly on their first record. Now the home run – ‘Wobble In The Pool’ is an aptly named keys led instrumental that shimmers and shines like that effect on the top of the swimming pool when the sun hits and finally ‘Mystery of Zambio’ is a very mellow excursion. It always feels unfair to compare and reference other people when talking about a musicians or bands music as they work so hard in their own mind and headspace but this one has a background vibe of Pat Metheny. Melismas (know we can use that) and melody. Probably a good summation of what they are all about to be fair.
God bless Fuga Ronto and if you like world / balearic or just great melody in general then this one is for you.
Fuga Ronto's 'Greatest Treasure' is available from all good record stores on the Phantom Island Bandcamp now.