If you have been loving the first two albums by the I Ministri, Borderline is the band that matches your taste. Besides the clear resemblance between the two vocalists’ voices, our home-bred quartet, exactly as the band from Milan did, mixes the hardest and distorted rock with enjoyable digressions in melody.
Formed in 2005, they have been relying themselves on the independent label Subcava Sonora, author of the success of the Mamamù Festival and Ludovico Van Festival, which supports them producing the short but deep and intense debut EP “Bere Fuoco” (5 tracks for a total of 13 minutes running time).
Borderline takes us to the stage with the opening track “Soundcheck”. Every musician, I am sure about this, will get the ironic message. It’s dedicated to the stage audio engineer crew, sometimes deaf about the bands’ demands. Nunzio going down heavy on the drum and Angelo, trying to find his way through the ear-splitting duet between guitar and bass, forced to scream to hear himself through the monitor, perfectly depicting the sense of frustration which grows and turns into anger, politely cool down by some sweet arpeggios to accompany the gentle attempt in communicating with the man behind the mixer.
With “Io Salto” (I Jump) the band got out of the cage of the italian alternative music. Listening to the frequent tempo changes within this second track, we all get back to the 90’s at an evocative concert in the Kyuss desert and the like in California. The low frequencies of the guitar tuned half step down and the old fashion psychedelia in the deep tremolo of this metal doom are perfectly matching what it seems to be some sort of stoner rock revival, especially for the scenario in Campania.
It’s still time for a bath in the sea, bonfire guitar sounds, Festivalbar (is it still on?) with its catchy tunes to get stuck to our ear passages all the 3 sunny months long. So while going to the beach you could easily find yourself humming to “Estate” (Summer) which, without giving up to the ever-present distortion and to Angelo’s scratching voice, reminds us of the adolescent lightness of the “Tre Allegri Ragazzi Morti” ’s in “Mostri e Normali”.
Borderline immediately take back and step off from this unexpected pop side of theirs. “Strofa e ritornello” is the most suitable to do it. As one can understand by the title itself, it is a track about the banality of some kind of music, as in this case the one of the main character of the video you can watch at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0kcv_8bHEQ, that is the frontman for the successful pop group called “Le Palle” (The Balls – These guys don’t lose themselves in unnecessary French words). But it is also a song about how hard crossing boundaries is in terms of music genres. In fact right after the verse, marked by the typical power chord in palm mute, the screamed and noisy chorus comes in in full metal style. Nothing new. But that’s a chosen predictability, some sort of way to demonstrate that, acknowledging some rules, a song is very easy to write. After all, as its lyrics recite, “classico è più bello” (standard is better).
The closing track “Oltre la norma” (Beyond the rule) has more of a rock ballad sound to it. After been “drinking fire” of the violent “Strofa e ritornello” (Verse and chorus), the melody comes back, the kind that makes it on the charts alongside with Lost and Negramaro, whether you want it or not. Isn’t it that soft rock as the one in video rotation on MTV belongs to Borderline more than they would admit to themselves? We’ll be waiting to prove us wrong (or right, who knows..), perhaps with a more homogeneous work than the multicoloured EP which doesn’t really let us understand “what they want to do when they grow up”. The recording and mastering work by La Casetta Studio is impeccable. The dry sounds essentiality, never overdoing with the reverbs, choruses and effects but rather with just pure distortion, make it all a little bit compromised, but we like it like that.
One last note must be dedicated to an important choice in terms of legality, meaning their putting themselves in the hands of an “open-source” label like Subcava Sonora, giving up the standard copyright issue and embracing the more “democratic” copyleft program. The EP can be therefore listened and downloaded for free on Jamendo (http://www.jamendo.com/it/album/82794) and it’s also shareable legally with whomever we want, on condition that it should not be used for commercial purposes. This is not the right place to argue about the Creative Commons licenses (CC) but it’s a topic I suggest to explore, especially if you are musicians and really tired too about the SIAE monopoly.
Italian to English translation: Umberto del Giudice