FABRIZIO CAMMARATA – Lights (800A Records)

LightsFabrizio Cammarata released Lights on March 29th. I’d not heard of Cammarata before getting this CD, but I’m glad it came my way. Cammarata is a Sicilian singer-songwriter who, on this album, writes and sings in English. Lights is classed by iTunes as Indie Rock; if it matters, I’d see as on the folk/indie border. And it’s rather enjoyable.

‘Run, Run, Run’ can be heard on the link below and gives you a representative flavour of the album – nicely picked guitar, a band and Cammarata’s vocal range articulating emotion in different tones. The lyrics also tell a story worth listening to – in this case an invocation (inspired I gather by moments of stillness during a busy year of touring) to slow down.

Run, Run, Run/
As if they told you there’s a prize to catch/
But I won’t follow if you Run, Run, Run.

The sense is reminiscent of Thom Gunn’s masterly barbed line that “One is always nearer by not keeping still”.

Among several highlights, my favourite track is ‘Eileen’ a lovely melody, a full band and a song which builds splendidly from a first verse which includes

I guess I didn’t know you
When I was busy being perfect
And you were busy being worried about us

There are so many gaps to fill in that story that the imagination runs riot. The rest of the song builds equally stunning vignette images to the concluding line “I like Eileen the most when she is free”.

‘My Guitar At 4:00 am’ is similarly melodic and with a story told so that you create details from the gaps. “My guitar at 4:00 am just asked for you/ And I didn’t know what to say/ Because you might be coming late” and so on. A gentler, less edgy song than ‘Eileen’ dealing with an equally heart tugging moment – if I describe it as songwriting of a Boo Hewerdine kind, it’s meant as a significant compliment.

Other highlights include the vocal on ‘Blue’. With more limited instrumentation than other tracks, Cammarata’s voice carries the song in a mixture of a more gravelly style than on much of the album but the voice moves to soaring high notes to keep the attention. ‘Cassiopeia’ is slower and more haunting. ‘For My Heartbeats’ is another relationship song, jauntier tune but lines like “I can remember the first time you told me a lie/ On a ride back home from paradise/ I started to feel lonely with you around / Lost somewhere between you and I”. The contrast works rather well.

Cammarata describes the album as overflowing with the will to live. “It is a refutation against selfishness and egotism, and a celebration of the concept of union and togetherness”. It’s never possible to know what is artistic imagination and what is documentary from an artist’s life, but there is sense, both from the songs and the publicist’s information, that this has been an album developed out of tumult. In line with Cammarata’s comment above though, the overall feel of the album is hugely positive. Whatever the struggle, Cammarata has come out the other side and created an album which deserves to gain him a wider audience.

He is on tour in Europe from April 26th.

Mike Wistow

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Artist’s website: http://www.fabriziocammarata.com

‘Run, Run, Run’ – official video: