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Rose Rovine E Amanti - Early and Unreleased Songs

A scattered selection of photographs, postcards and other ephemera adorn the fold out DVD sized sleeve. Like a scrapbook some rekindle fond memories, some induce unabashed giggling and some are reminders of events you're glad are confined to the past. Those same sentiments might apply to Early and Unreleased Songs, a collection of out-takes, demos and unreleased songs from the Italian project Rose Rovine E Amanti. Thankfully Damiano Mercuri considers this something of a joke too. It's just as well as very little here compares favourably with Rituale Romanum, the full length release on Cold Spring which offered a rich neo-classical take on their romantic neo-folk ballads, forging their inspirations of Christianity and Roman culture.

The acoustic strum on Early and Unreleased Songs will be familiar to followers of Rose Rovine E Amanti but what's interesting here is the development of Damiano Mercuri's voice. There's a track on here that's a cover of 'Candidate' from Bowie's Diamond Dogs album, but on quite a few of the tracks here Mercuri's voice has a distinct Bowie feel to it. It's apparent on the opener 'Volgari e Cafoni' and more so on 'Kristal Estonian Light'. It's one of the better tracks here where Mercuri's voice resonates well over the acoustic balladry. It's joined halfway through by a pounding electronic rhythm that works well against the smooth electronic strum. Mercuri's take on Bowie's 'Candidate' is good too. Performed acoustically, Mercuri's voice is highly expressive and his guitar work takes on a far more pop like structures than normal.

'Hai Mai Tu Preso un Cafe?' and 'La Sagrada Familia', however, are more representative of the melancholic ballads of Rituale Romanum, with 'Hai Mai Tu Preso un Cafe?' being one of the few tracks to benefit from strings and violin, even though the strings are distinctly synthetic.

Elsewhere the bizarrely titled 'Punk Woyzeck' is sampled film dialogue harnessed to a frantic electronic rhythm. 'Holland Sea Part I and II' concern themselves with the disparate approach to sexuality in The Netherlands; its liberal society and the murder of outspoken film director Theo Van Vogh. Both tracks hanker around classically inspired acoustic guitar, with Part II overlayen with a mishmash of voices, film and documentary dialogue, snatches of Elvis and Little Richard. Whatever the style, however, it's hard to decipher the lyrics - which may be no bad thing. In any case this collection limited to 1000 copies is clearly for the acquainted. Interested observers are directed to Rituale Romanum instead. For more information go to