-Courtesy of Randex Communications
Prepare yourself for 2020’s wildest musical ride. That’s the only way to describe Suicide, Italian Style, the mind-blowing new release from The Andretti, out NOW in special multi-colored collector’s vinyl, available exclusively through Bandcamp, and on all major digital platforms.
Springing from the heart, soul and intellect of veteran music-maker Joe Ferrara, Suicide, Italian Style is the aural equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting: A creation of challenging, compelling, and ultimately satisfying order borne from a seemingly random and chaotic sonic chaos that melds David Bowie with Dick Dale, Ennio Morricone, Frank Zappa and Henry Mancini. The album is sprinkled with just enough ‘60s experimentation, ‘70s glam, ‘80s bombast and ‘90s noise rock to conjure a collection of songs (with elements of exotica and Latin, rockabilly, surf, doo wop and metal) that grabs the listener on the first spin and refuses to let go.
This “mad-scientist” approach stands in stark contrast to contemporary music’s auto-tuned, disposable-pop default position. So, what would compel its creator to devise such an adventurous, impossible-to-pigeonhole collection of songs?
“The album was motivated by a desire to create songs I find interesting and which incorporate many different styles, but still maintain a classic pop sensibility,” says North Jersey denizen Ferrara, now living in suburban Philadelphia. “Also,” he adds in his signature sardonic style, “I had nothing better to do.”
As for the disc’s lyrical content, Ferrara is hard to pin down, but on the other hand, he admits even he doesn’t have a real handle on it. “Lyrically, there is no unifying theme except, perhaps, the songs all explore some of the darker and/or abnormal aspects of human behavior. Most of the time I just like to construct phrases that sound pleasing ̶ or displeasing ̶ when sung.
“As a result, my lyrics are often fairly abstract, and don’t necessarily follow a traditional narrative or commentative structure. Without giving too much away, if I had to be specific, I’d say these songs are about the excesses of the ancient Romans; out of work soap opera stars who are now arms dealers; male prostitute blackmailers; race car “drivers with a death wish; a castle made of junk auto parts that functions as a ‘lover’s lane’ in some fictional border town; Faustian death cults; the New Jersey mafia and, of course, Kim Novak.
“Or they are not about any of these things. I honestly couldn’t tell ya.”
Although Suicide, Italian Style — whose title Ferrara describes as a takeoff on 1960s films Love Italian Style and Divorce Italian Style — is released under the banner of The Andretti, it is decidedly not a band effort. While he did enlist a few outside musicians including Mars Volta drummer Blake Fleming, Ferrara insists the concept of the musical collaboration is not one to which he subscribes.
“I don’t think the band concept is passe for everyone,” he says, “but I certainly think the notion of music being presented as the sum total of a small collective of people’s efforts, and then that music being absorbed through the prism of a perception of that group that is formulated by marketing the style or personality or demographic that “band” conveys through its media presence, is a pretty stale tactic.
“Who makes the music doesn’t matter. The music should matter ̶ especially to an angry fuck like me with his cigarettes and vintage microphones.”
Ultimately, Suicide, Italian Style is by turns prickly, slightly askew, random, and challenging, but somehow, it’s also thrilling, entertaining and irresistible. So strap yourself in and join The Andretti for a most unforgettable “Suicide” trip.
Available NOW at Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, and wherever else music is consumed on-line.
Suicide, Italian Style Track Listing:
1. Il Pavone D’oro
2. Equinox at Cefalù
3. Marquis De Sade’s Rockin’ NYE
4. Suicide, Italian Style
6. The Man Who Never Was
7. The Soft Side Of Hell
8. New Jersey Jailbreak
9. A Dismal Method
10. Palace Depression
11. See Naples and Die
12. A Seedy Type Of Gravity