Archive for July, 2010

Ciccada – A Child in the Mirror

July 25, 2010

Ciccada – George Mouchos (guitar), Evangelia Kozoni (vocals) and Nicolas Nikolopoulos (flute, keyboards). Not pictured: Omiros Komninos (bass), Christos Zelelidis (drums) and Panagiotis Gianakkakis (piano).

Ciccada is evidently misspelled … at least in English. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary says it should be “Cicada”. Ask me if I care. Any band that sounds this good can spell their name any way they want to.

A Child in the Mirror is an absolutely outstanding debut for this band from Athens, Greece. Don’t be fooled by the fact that they’re on the AltrOck label, which usually specializes in more RIO-styled bands. Ciccada sounds like a mixture of Jethro Tull and Gentle Giant with a bit of Hatfield and the North and Renaissance thrown in (mostly due to Evangelia Kozoni‘s Gaskin/Haslam styled vocals, but also musically). If I hadn’t already read about them before, I would have sworn this must be an English band just judging from their sound. My favorite features are the Tullish flute passages (and even guitar stylings) and organ solos that sound like “Apocalypse in 9/8” performed by Dave Stewart. Completely riveting.

They freely admit to being influenced by all of the above, but they’ve used these starting points to create something that’s all their own, yet could stand proudly alongside the best albums from those bands. If life was fair, A Child in the Mirror would become an internationally famous overnight classic. Of course, it’s not fair, so Ciccada will probably remain relegated to special-interest web sites like this one. What a loss for the world! I’m dead serious when I say this is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard, bar none. Absolutely essential for anyone who has any interest in the bands I just mentioned, and probably for anyone interested in symphonic prog in general.

For anyone keeping score, several members of labelmates Yugen (Botta, Cavedon, Cipollone and Signo) and also DFA (DeGrandis) participated in this album, in addition to “guest artists” playing bass, drums and piano. But they sound like a band that’s been playing together since they were twelve years old. If I was to say something negative about this album, it’s that Kozoni‘s vocals are undermixed. But that’s certainly not a reason to avoid A Child in the Mirror. If this one doesn’t make near the top my “Best of 2010” list, there will be some unbelievable albums put out later this year. I’m not holding my breath. Gems like this don’t happen all that often. — Fred Trafton

External Links
Click here for Ciccada‘s MySpace page
Click here for Ciccada‘s band page on the AltrOck web site
Click here for Fading RecordsMySpace page (a subsidiary of AltrOck)