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Thread: PFM's Jet Lag - Undervalued Or Jump The Shark LP?

  1. #1
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    PFM's Jet Lag - Undervalued Or Jump The Shark LP?

    I have always had a fondness for "Jet Lag" despite my original negative reaction when I purchased it way back in 1977. Following the wonderful "Chocolate Kings" release, it served as a quantum leap in musical style (and even genre) for this legendary Italian band. However, after a few listens I learned to love the album and it was at a time when I was getting more and more involved with Jazz/Rock/Fusion bands, so it fit nicely into my own musical evolution.

    What I am asking fellow PE members is whether this album is unfairly maligned and underrated due to it's shift from symph territory to Jazz/Rock or if the general view of it is that it represented a decline in PFM's career to the point where it marks a point of "shark jumping" (to use that phrase). If you look at the Prog ratings from PA it receives a 3.18, which is the lowest rating by far of any of their albums since the 1972 debut. RYM has it as 3.33 and Gnosis gives it a 10.23 rating, which is still good but a far cry from previous releases and you can see the 7,8 and 9 ratings starting to creep in, in larger numbers whereas previous releases saw them in double digits.

    Am I alone here in giving "Jet Lag" a solid "4" out of 5 rating and considering it an overall excellent addition to any Prog lovers collection?

    (BTW, favorite tracks include "Peninsula" into "Jet Lag", and "Meridiani")

  2. #2
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Undervalued IMO. I quite like that little phase of their career. Jet Lag doesn't reach the heights of their previous albums, but it's a nice side path for them to have taken back then. I think I'll listen to it today!
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  3. #3
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Their last great / nearly great (depending on your P.O.V) album... (imo)
    Steve F.

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  4. #4
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quite good, but they lost me with the next one (Passpartů) and I don't think I ever even listened to Suonare Suonare.
    New album THE HIPCRIME VOCAB available now!
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  5. #5
    Stati Di Immaginazioni from 2005 or so is excellent

  6. #6
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nearfest View Post
    Stati Di Immaginazioni from 2005 or so is excellent
    Yes it is! That piano break on the opening track is absolutely gorgeous. I rather liked their In Classic release as well.
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk

  7. #7
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    I like it far better than Chocolate Kings - but since I also like Passpartu...
    Passpartu was the last one I liked from that crew.

    Stati Di Immaginazione is ok, but its a different band.

  8. #8
    Interesting timing, I just got a copy last week to decide the same thing. I think a lot of the purely negative opinions are knee jerk reactions to the introduction of longer jams and less "sectional" songwriting. I've seen a lot of reviews call this lazy, but I don't think that's quite the case. Jazz fusion was pretty omnipresent at that point in time, but more importantly, jamming and jazz influences had already been a part of PFM since the beginning, La Carrozza di Hans and Dove Quando Pt. 2 are dominated by riff-based, modal jams similar to what appear on this album, so it makes sense they'd lean more heavily onto that side at this point in time. However, the jam sections are still juxtaposed with composed song sections, which I think are mostly up to the PFM standard, and there are enough of them to render the argument that this is just a jam album pretty moot. My main issue with the album is that it doesn't seem as colorful as the previous releases, no doubt caused by the departure of Mauro Pagani, and there are definitely some superfluous "look how fast I can play" runs here and there, but otherwise I think it's a fine album that shows the band experimenting with new forms. It does seem like a grower album for me, but for now I'd give it a 3/5.
    A vie, a mort, et apres...

  9. #9
    Both Chocolate Kings and Jet Lag are great in my opinion, they just pale in comparison to the absolute classics that the first 3 records are. Which isn't a shame.

    If you notice the Gnosis ratings the big flop in the grades comes with Chocolate Kings, and then a slight further down with Jet Lag. There are people who don't like Lanzetti's voice at all: I don't have a problem with it, but it did alter the initial character of the band somehow.

    I would have liked more of the Cerco La Lingua folk/jazz fusion stuff to have come out from the band. This one belongs to the golden library of the band imo.

  10. #10
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    After adjusting to the goat style singing (that I eventually really appreciated), I think this is an excellent release in its own right/style.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

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    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    Quite good
    Having just given it a spin--scratch that, it's damn good. It's just quite a departure from the classic PFM sound. It doesn't even sound particularly Italian to my ears--and PFM were always the most overtly Italianate of the big I-prog bands. (And they weren't subtle about it, either: William Tell Overture, anyone?) But Lanzetti's Chapman-cum-Gabriel-cum-Billy Goat Gruff vocals were already steering the band towards a more English vibe, and the jazzier instrumental sound here, with the strong presence of the electric piano, even gives off a whiff of Canterbury to these ears. (Do not ask why I am whiffing with my ears. Mixed metaphors R us.)
    New album THE HIPCRIME VOCAB available now!
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  12. #12
    Chocolate Kings ended their prime prog era imo, but this one and Passpartu have some good tracks. Really just an effect of the changing music business.

  13. #13
    Jet Lag always turned me on more than Chocolate Kings, which to me felt similar to The Missing Piece and Going For The One (strong writing and playing partially sabotaged by thin, unsatisfying sonics). Jet Lag sounded fuller, I liked its roughness and its “live band in the studio” feel, the material was really fun and lively and the band sounded like they were having a good time - come to think of it, in these ways Jet Lag for me is roughly analogous to Tormato (which I also love).

  14. #14
    Member Camelogue's Avatar
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    Does it have to be one or the other?

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    I like the earlier albums better, but I give them credit for trying something different.

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    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    Both Chocolate Kings and Jet Lag are great in my opinion, they just pale in comparison to the absolute classics that the first 3 records are. Which isn't a shame.

    If you notice the Gnosis ratings the big flop in the grades comes with Chocolate Kings, and then a slight further down with Jet Lag. There are people who don't like Lanzetti's voice at all: I don't have a problem with it, but it did alter the initial character of the band somehow.

    I would have liked more of the Cerco La Lingua folk/jazz fusion stuff to have come out from the band. This one belongs to the golden library of the band imo.
    ^^^This. Everything you said.

    I think it’s appropriately rated. The first three albums are a class of their own, and falling below that threshold for CK and JL is not a slight, but a testament to what came before.
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  17. #17
    I need to re-listen to this. I finally checked it out after years of not getting to it and it just struck me as very “meh.” Not bad, but not terribly exciting. Passpartů I would put alongside Banco’s Canto di primavera, in that there was a conscious attempt to concentrate on their home market (which seems to have been something of a global trend; notice a lot of German bands switching to German lyrics roughly at the same time). It’s a perfectly fine album mating Mediterranean folk sounds to a light rock style with some fusion touches—not exceptional, but nice.

    I have only heard a track or two here or there from later albums. Suonare suonare was a big hit for them, and based just on the singles (“Si puo fare” and “Maestro delle voce”), it really doesn’t seem like it would be that bad! And good on them for continuing to incorporate violin into their sound even at this late date!
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  18. #18
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkeneally View Post
    Jet Lag always turned me on more than Chocolate Kings,
    I really like Jet Lag.

    Chocolate Kings? Not so sure.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  19. #19
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Must have bought this one in the 80s (vinyl) but din't listen to it very often.

    An OK Album on itself but why listen to it when you can listen to the ones before it?

  20. #20
    It's undervalued in my opinion. A very solid album for its genre and way better than Chocolate Kings in it's own right.
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  21. #21
    Ι love Choco Kings. Maybe the strong Genesis influence is underwhelming for such an accomplished band, but the sheer emotion expressed in songs like Harlequin, Paper Charms and From Under wins me over every time I listen to it.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    Ι love Choco Kings. Maybe the strong Genesis influence is underwhelming for such an accomplished band, but the sheer emotion expressed in songs like Harlequin, Paper Charms and From Under wins me over every time I listen to it.
    Totally feel the same way. I just listened to it a few days ago and those songs still get to me.

    Jet Lag is the one I've probably listened to the least, but I recall liking it. I'm going to dust it off for a spin today I think.

  23. #23

  24. #24
    Member jefftiger's Avatar
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    I bought Jet Lag on vinyl in the early 1980s and, like some others, never was able to get into it. But, based on this recent discussion, I plan to give it another listen (from my CD rip) sometime this week. I also never got into the majority of their 1980s output. Coincidentally, I was in Sicily the week following the release of Miss Baker in 1987 and I picked up the cassette at a small record store in Taormina (which I still have). I enjoyed it, although it's nothing remotely progressive. Gianfranco Rossati, in a thoughtful review of their 1997 release, Ulisse, called their 1980s output "Italian urban rock" (http://www.gaudela.net/pfm/rev-Ulisse-1.html)! I consider Ulisse to be my favorite post-70s PFM album. It really resonated with me.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camelogue View Post
    Does it have to be one or the other?
    That's a good point/question; I drew the two options out to start the conversation relative to the PE members general view of "Jet Lag". Based on the many responses (which are quite interesting and enjoyable to read), there is a wide range of opinions but mostly they are positive. It's also interesting to see the number of posters who want to get it out and give it another spin. That's what led me to posting this thread, it was like a blast from the past when I played it recently after not hearing it for some time.

    Again, good to see the various points made by the PE members as to this albums plusses and non-pluses as well as on "Chocolate Kings" and "Passpartu".

    Camelogue, what's your take on "Jet Lag"?

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