Italian ( Neapolitan) band Stella Diana are probably the most prominent band of the Italian shoegaze scene, or rather Italogaze scene: a scene with some excellent bands like, for example, Rev Rev Rev, Be Forest and Clustersun. Stella Diana consists of singer Dario Torre (vocals & guitar), Giacomo Salzano (bass), Roberto Amato (guitars) , Raffaele Boccheti (guitars) and Davide Fusco on drums. They have recently signed to the brand-new indie label Raphalite Records and released “Alhena”: a compilation of 4 earlier tracks and , as an extra, a cover of Kula Shaker’s “Govinda”. All tracks are completely and newly remastered by Marc Joy of Lights That Change and Alexander Kretov of Ummagma.
To be honest, for me it is quite easy: I have lived in Italy and understand and speak the language so I actually manage to sing along to the songs ( which I do), and get most of it. But in all reality, it is quite amazing that Stella Diana manages to have a massive following in countries outside their own home-country, it just goes to show that music is a universal language without boundaries and also just how good it is purely musically.
In spring next year, a totally new chapter will commence for them, since they will start releasing their material in English, which most certainly will gain them a bigger territory. Deservedly so!
Singer Dario about the songs on “Alhena”:
“These songs were composed during a period of great union in the band. There are many influences but we can see a lot of new wave and shoegazing. About the lyrics I can say this: every song, every single word always talks about my personal situations: feelings, memories, relationships, nostalgia for a past that will never return. I am not capable of being descriptive when I write. You know the typical situation: The leaves are green and today it’s a sunny day, you’re gone but I love you… It’s horrible. I could never do it. Probably because I studied and teach philosophy and therefore I love to investigate some issues of our life…”
“Shohet” is a flanger based trip at high-speed that flashes you past streets of Naples: a mesmerizing trip along abstract and impressionistic concepts like memory and perspective and ends surprisingly abruptly, echoes dissolving into the ether.
Dario: “Is our more loudest song. the words seem unclear but concern about a particular topic: the nostalgia for those who are no more. the physical resemblance is what ‘s left of those who are no longer… infact the refrain says: you are in my eyes, more vivid and present, you’re in my dreams more distant and faded…”
Caulfield: “Caulfield” starts out slowly with a jangly, Swervedriver-esque verse, and smoothes into a beautiful melancholic chorus and outro. “Caulfield” is a tribute to the main character in “The Young Holden” by J.D. Salinger.
Dario : “Caulfield” talks about the sense of solitude when you are abandoned by someone. “the room is now bare and claims another evening yet… so the refrain says “live more and more, you know how to do it….
Bill Carson: “Bill Carson”, the protagonist of this song, is the name of a character in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” by Sergio Leone and the name of a legendary guitarist for whom the Fender guitar was designed. The song is a perfect balance of drums, bass lines and shimmery, melancholic guitar riffs and vocals that figuratively and literally demand our attention.
Dario:“This has the same theme as Shohet. The first verse says: “I have to show myself happy for your memory even if I’m not but I must do it for the people…”
At the start, “Mira” recalls the 80’s new wave with a very prominent bass a la Joy Division, but then explodes in wall of distortion and a bridge that brings Adorable to mind.
Dario: “It’s bizarre. I don’t know what I can say, cause i wrote the lyrics just before recording. But the song sounds good, does not it?”
This cover has been done excellently and has more of a psychedelic/ spiritual/ Indian ring to it than Kula Shaker’s version ever did. With a wall of delay obviously 🙂
Enjoy the stellar trip that is “Alhena” ( a brilliant white star) for now, and keep your eyes on Stella Diana’s next English release in spring 2016!