Release date: September 18, 2020
Label: Trepanation Recordings

LACITTÀDOLENTE are a band based in Milan, Italy and Salespeople is their debut album, following their formation in 2017 and EP Opportunist released a year later. Despite a few years of touring under their belt and a small release, this LP is the first time I have heard of the Italian four-piece. Salespeople is being released by the good folks of Trepanation Recordings on cassette with a veritable horde of labels working together on the CD format (Fresh Outbreak Records, Hidden Beauty Records, Mother Ship, SHOVE Records, Toten Schwan Records, and Violence In The Veins).

Salespeople is a short, sharp record, with seven tracks and a sub half-hour length, with the eponymous final track contributing to a quarter of the entire LP’s runtime. Self-described as mathcore, the band do deliver exactly what they say on the tin, although rather than citing Botch, Converge or new metalcore heroes Code Orange, LACITTÀDOLENTE sound more like a very angsty Unsane doing mathcore, although there are some classic ‘Botch-esque’ flourishes to some of the guitar work on the shorter songs (opener ‘You Are All’ and single ‘Venal’).

The quartet’s subject matter seems to be the frustration and anger generated by obvious corruption both politically and economically in our global society. Something to be justifiably angry about, for sure. My issue with Salespeople is that at no point does it sound nearly angry enough. The performance on this recording is perhaps a little too polished, the mix a little tepid and the mastering somewhat apologetic for the rage felt that the band are clearly writing about.

LACITTÀDOLENTE may have the musical technicality down and an easy subject to use as the target for their ire, but the songwriting repeatedly lets them down. There’s a lack of any real surprise on any of the first six tracks of the record and I found that rather surprising. I never felt the passion or compulsion to stand up and scream, throw and object or, just, do something when listening to this album. There’s raw energy here, sure, but that on its own only carries the LP so far.

As I listened more and more, I did end up being more forgiving of the lack of much originality, because the quartet really do throw themselves into tracks such as the gnawing, insistent ‘Profiteering’. They are, to coin a phrase, ‘good at what they do’. I just found myself wanting – needing – more and the good news is that the Milan troupe have built the foundation to provide just that on a future release. The bad news is that tracks that make up Salespeople are just a little too anonymous to my ear right now.

Final track, the aforementioned long eponymous song ‘Salespeople’, is certainly not a path the quartet should ever revisit, though. The track proper is some of the best and most incisive mathy hardcore the band have to offer, but that is spliced with two sections of something that sounds like a cloying 50s jingle to encourage people back into work. The second of these parts then segues not back into the band going full pelt and bringing the album home, but rather over a minute of duelling ambience and noise. It’s, I suppose… awkward…? It really doesn’t work for me and I would have much preferred another 3-4 minute long track that ended abruptly or maybe did end in a wail of feedback or even a fade out. The closing song ends Salespeople on an odd note and rather than intriguing in nature, it’s simply puzzling how the band thought this was a success. The experiment itself may have worked with more accomplished songwriting and a sample that wasn’t quite as jarring – we’ve heard it done successfully on records of the past – but ‘Salespeople’ is a final statement that throws up more questions about LACITTÀDOLENTE than it answers.

This debut is a band still very much finding their feet, in my opinion. Mathcore is a very busy genre and to become a close unit full of accomplished musicians is half the battle. In this, the quartet have talent in spades. But, to cut through the noise, one must then push forward greater songwriting, creating unexpected, original twists and turns and welcome experimentation all the while nailing those attributed and honing a strong(er) visual aesthetic. In these latter facets, I still see the band as taking their first steps. And that is OK – the willingness to put ‘Salespeople’ out there is, in many ways, brave, and sometimes growth needs to be in the public eye (or ear in this case), and a necessary roll of the dice. Some things on this record just didn’t work out, or didn’t stand out, but I still look forward to what the Milanese metallers do next.

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