Friday 7 February 2014

Three Lakes And The Flatland Eagles - War Tales

Album review by

It will be the First World War that is commemorated this year, and this focus is likely to largely eclipse all other previous conflicts for a while. Rightly so, this is the centenary of an event that shaped the word we live in today and in which so many lives were lost. 'War Tales' however, focuses on the Second World War, and being an Italian band, Three Lakes And The Flatland Eagles could offer a perspective that those of us whose counties were part of the allied forces may not have. Three Lakes is the pen name of Luca Righi, a man who's released solo work before, but is often produced by and backed by members of what are now known as The Flatland Eagles; so 'War Tales' is his tracks backed by this band who get equal billing as their contribution is such a strong one.

There's an unwritten sub-heading to this album: "A Trip Through The War". So it takes in many aspects, events, feelings and other fragments to take you on a journey. The almost (deliberately) drab 'Wild Water' is a tender and heartfelt hymn of resignation; something is upon us, it's not good, what happens next? Suddenly we get a burst of life, and the upbeat alt-rock intro to 'The Walk' could almost be euphoric, but it's about leaving the safety of your home; of going to war and of families being torn apart. Even seemingly mundane lines like "ain't got no shoes" tell of the simple ways ordinary people were affected, not just the famous generals and the major events. 'The Lonesome Death Of Hank Williams' may seem to be totally unconnected, but the tale behind the song is that Williams, an important man in creating music as we know it, is famous for his troubled life and sang "I'm so lonesome I could cry". Here that troubled life is that of a soldier, only this lime he sings about being so lonesome he could die, how he dreams of being a child again, to be brave again, not caught up in these surroundings. It's an emotive track that touches on alt-country.

More desolation is found on 'To Do'; a trapped soul trying to occupy his time. It should be pointed out that although 'War Tales' deals with bleak subject matter and is often downbeat, it does capture so much passion that you forget that; it will leave an impression. Using personal experience of being separated from his own father for a time, 'The Day My Father Cried' will resonate with many people, especially those who have permanently lost loved ones. This is rootsy blues with a tender shuffle, lines like "I may not come back" tug at the heart strings. "Baby don't you go... baby don't you cry". These words are from the electrified blues of 'By My Side' a song that points out that death is something we go through alone: even with other people around, it's just us that experiences it. 'D-day' is another tender ballad where a waiting soldier is asking "why me?" before the important but risky events of that night. The brass towards the end gives the track some extra power. The simple acoustics of 'March' seem more upbeat; the winter coming to an end and thoughts of a love that awaits. It's odd that such a simple song is a stand-out, but the enlightenment and the almost psychedelic interlude is great. It signifies the start of the end, and 'Horses Slowly Ride' is the journey home at last. The glorious yet maudlin ending of 'Rose' is one of peace and happiness, but also of reflection. Whichever country you were in, so many of the events on normal people were the same, and that's perhaps the underlying message of 'War Tales'.

Three Lakes And The Flatland Eagles' website

Stream or buy the album

Catch them live:

07-02-2014 —- Kalinka club, Carpi - Threelakes and the Flatland Eagles
08-02-2014 —- Glue, Firenze - Threelakes and the Flatland Eagles
02-03-2014 —- La Galera, Correggio - Threelakes trio
21-03-2014 —- Fabriano - Threelakes trio
22-03-2014 —- Ancona - Threelakes trio
11-04-2014 —- Roma - Threelakes solo show
12-04-2014 —- Frosinone - Threelakes solo show
13-04-2014 —- Bergamo - Threelakes trio

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