GIOVANNI FERRARIO - Headquarter Delirium
The new Luxembourgish label Pocket Heaven was giving us already a foretaste of Giovanni Ferrario’s solo album Headquarter Delirium by releasing the EP Oxidate Memo earlier in January, where two new songs made already hungry for more. The Story Of Your Life and Easy To Forget consequently open the CD, making for an easy entry into more than one hour of music that demands some patience from the audience. Live on stage, Giovanni Ferrario practices dirty self-sampled garage trash that lives off its directness, but it is obvious from the start that he’s taking much more time in the studio.
More or less known with his previous band Micevice, he’s helped out by some of his former members, but also Italian rock veterans Afterhours help out. Other names you might recognize are former Venus drummer Jean-Marc Butty and of course Hugo Race, who was a founding member of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds and who plays some guitar on the CD. The two last tracks on the album have Race as the writer of Beast and as the vocalist of Basically Naked.
Headquarter Delirium takes of course most of its charm from Ferrario’s gravelly voice, sounding somewhere between Howe Gelb and Nick Cave. The panoply of strange instruments (clarino, omnichord, autoharp and many more) coat his compositions with an ethereal atmosphere which makes listening to Headquarter Delirium a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The best songs can be found in the first half of the album which eventually suffers from its generous length. The instrumental title track is a nice excursion into psychedelic headtrips, and the vast Sea Song (alas, not a Robert Wyatt cover version) also has its definite moments. But I always find myself losing a bit my attention towards the end.
Headquarter Delirium is still a wonderful record by an Italian singer/songwriter who masters perfectly two different faces: the wild live beast and the more introverted studio magician. No wonder that P.J. Harvey has asked him to play on her records. This is an astonishing little gem that deserves to be discovered by friends of eclectic indie rock music with frequent nods to the late Sixties and early Seventies.