The debut album from Italian singer-songwriter Enrico Sarzi has dropped and it’s time to take this baby for a spin. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this. Just because it was an Italian singer-songwriter, I was expecting the usual Euro-pop. It’s a good job I don’t judge the book by the cover.
ENRICO SARZI – Drive Through
The first track “Shameless” kicks off with a funky groove that reminds me of bands like Black Country Communion and Deep Purple. Although the vocals are a touch accented, they sound pretty good and the chorus is strong, which brings out those vocals in their best light.
The production of this album is great. The keyboards have that 70’s sound, as they play away in the background. The guitars are strong and the only thing that needs toning down are the drums, which can be a bit overpowering at times. There’s a really clear wailing guitar solo on this track, which rocks out for quite a bit. All in all, a good album opener.
A nice clean guitar kicks off second track “Afraid to be Myself“. This is set along with a pounding drumbeat and, when the vocals come in, they remind me of early Jon Bon Jovi. In fact, this track sounds like a latter-day Bon Jovi. This would have fitted comfortably on Bon Jovi‘s This House is Not for Sale album.
“Nothing to Live For” is ushered in with a rumbling bass and swing beat and when the vocals come in again they sound very much like the New Jersey rocker. You know what, we’re three tracks in and this album is already starting to stick to me like a sweaty pair of socks on a gym locker room wall. This one is a little slower paced, but has a nice groove. When the chorus comes in, it’s strong and anthemic.
Following on “S.O.S to God” starts with a cool little bass riff and clean guitar over the top. This one is really slow at the start before it begins to build over a nice riff which definitely sounds like a Fender Strat. Wow, that’s one big chorus in a short space of time. This guy is definitely going for commerciality. As the track nears the end, it builds and builds and justs pumps to the finish line.
I love the sound of acoustic on the opening bars of “Strange Freedom“. It leads into a piano-led ballad. Once the beat hits you, we are definitely in ballad territory. That clean guitar sounds good throughout the song. Even in the chorus, it just idles along in the background like a slow purring engine. The song changes pace around the 2-minute mark. It’s a nice little touch, which gives the song a refreshing feeling. A saxophone then brings us into easy listening territory, but it just fits the track perfectly as it launches into the stratosphere thereafter.
The only bad thing I can say about the album at this point is that, after the first track, I was expecting a little more 70’s sounding rock. However, we got more millennial Bon Jovi instead.
“The Repentant“, on the other hand, brings us back into that territory that we’ve been longing for. It’s got a stomping riff that comes in over the top of a John Bonham-like beat. This is a big rocker with a big chorus that breaks in slowly with a nice acoustic riff and then cranks. The solo has a few effects thrown into the mix, but is a good solid rock solo. However, the synth that comes in on the end is a bit wasted. I know now what this reminds me of – it’s 2018’s version of the band Europe mixed with Bon Jovi and, if that floats your boat, then you’ll probably love it.
Next song “Inferno” starts off a bit slow and those Jon Bon Jovi tones are back. However, the Italian accent comes through here and there to distinguish it. The chorus has the Jovi all over it. The guitar solo has a bit of wah-wah and it’s a good solo, reminiscent of Richie Sambora. This track has more of an 80’s hair metal flavor when the chorus comes in, but it’s not bad.
The sound of screeching tires and a riff that reminds me of The Cult introduces “Let Me Go”. The 70’s organ is wailing away in the background and this one’s a little faster paced. It has a chorus that’s trying too hard to be amazing, but falling short of the bar by a long way. This is probably the most throwaway track on the album so far, but it’s still enjoyable.
The album title track “Drive Through” has arrived. Keys and synth are all over it, while Sarzi sings in a sorrowful tone, full of loss. I like the bass that plunks away under the vocals, but this track already reminds me of something off John Bon Jovi‘s Destination Anywhere album. It builds and builds as it comes to a close with a nice little solo and heavy on the organ.
The classily titled “Sex Perfume” plays in with a clean sounding acoustic and some tongue in cheek vocals. These were highly expected. When the song launches fully, it is straight in with keys and a crunching guitar. However, those lyrics made me laugh my ass off. I don’t know whether it’s just the vocalist’s use of the English language or whether he’s talking from experience.
The final track on the album “Cielo” (which roughly translates to “heaven”) is a bit slow for the album closer. To add to that, it’s entirely in Italian. I think he should’ve rocked out on another 70’s style rocker to leave people wanting more. There’s slow piano all over this and a few female vocals thrown in along with a morose violin. It’s not a bad ballad though, but more in line with the pop world than rock.
To be honest, I really liked it. I can take the pop sensibilities as they come because I have delved into those worlds in parts myself. The 70’s rockers are strong songs sprinkled here and there on the album, intertwined with the Bon Jovi style tracks. It’s almost like he should have made two EP’s as it would have made more sense. The thing is, I enjoy all eras of Bon Jovi also so he’s got me on all fronts there, but that’s just me there’s a lot of people out there to try and win over.
DECIBEL RATING 8/10 WATTS