Italy’s My Foolish Heart are based around the talents of multi-instrumentalists Stefano Ordazzo and Caterina Sandri, with the latter a proud owner of one beautiful voice. Their first album, ‘Ocean Ocean’, is described as “a peaceful island in a hot ocean” and – as if to confirm their good taste – their MySpace page even features a cover of Prefab Sprout’s ‘Pearly Gates’.
Much of the record is built around lush arrangements with the delicious vocals of Sandri on ‘After Eight’ immediately recalling no less than Minnie Riperton. Not unlike her own records, My Foolish Heart’s songs sprawl and glide along classy piano and guitar arrangements with equal nods to folk, soul and psychedelia. ‘A Lawn Sprinker’ is an irresistible slice of summer with a dreamlike turn from Sandri. ‘Sootiness, Sonsy Girl’ takes on chugging indie rock with distinction and there were will be few songs which are as wonderfully odd as ‘Let’s Jam The Brakes’, which manages to shoehorn lyrics like “My involutional psychosis” in to a fabulously happy-sounding chorus.
Yet whilst the musicianship cannot be denied, the second half of the album suffers from a lapse in to self-indulgence following the bright melodies which preceded it and – although it fits in as a period piece -it’s unlikely those who enjoyed the first half of the album will be returning to the title track’s song cycle finale which endures for an energy-sapping twelve minutes; it has its glorious moments en route but it meanders so much it’s hard to keep focus. Likewise, ‘Nothingness’ descends in to psychedelic jazz workout.
Musically speaking, My Foolish Heart are located somewhere between the psych-soul/folk records of the 1960’s and late-period Cardigans. Their thirst for ambition shouldn’t be discouraged but they’re at their best, the more concise their songs are.
Minnie Riperton, Mary, The Cardigans