I sometimes asked myself what happened to Italy's Alix. After the release of their last album 'Good 1', it became rather quiet about them which was a shame. Alix's gigs with Place Of Skulls and The Hidden Hand have remained to me in the best recollection and their two albums 'Ground' (review here) and 'Good 1' (review here) showed a band with a leaning towards artistic freedom and pronounced individuality. They had something better in mind than just imitating Kyuss - in absolute contrast to most of the heavy rock bands of the last decade. Be that as it may, I'll let the past rest and deal with the present, because it belongs to ALICE TAMBOURINE LOVER. Hidden behind the strange name is Alix singer Alice Albertazzi (vocals, guitar, tambourine) and Alix bassist Gianfranco Romanelli (dobro, resonator guitar, bass) and 'Naked Songs' is their 2012 debut record for Go Down Records.

Because of Alice's sweet, mesmerizing voice and Gianfranco's dobro, there are of course parallels to Alix, but in general ALICE TAMBOURINE LOVER plough their own furrow. There is more folk and blues and a bit of psychedelic, largely due to Gianfranco Romanelli's sparkling, electrified guitar sound that works perfectly with Alice's acoustic rhythm guitar. If you are familiar with Alix, you know that she has an unusual and beautiful voice and that is one of the reasons why 'Naked Songs' is such a heartwarming record. It invites you to dream, it relaxes body and spirit, and opens the senses to the diverse beauties of nature. But it also rocks. Along the way both musicians prove their sharp songwriting skills and show a depth of experiences.

I find it difficult to stress individual songs, because each of the included 9 tracks has its moments. For example, the melancholy of 'Pills Of Fire' affects me deeply whereas 'Naked Lady' reminds me to Alela Diane's masterpiece 'To Be Still'. 'Hungry Thieves' is saturated with delta blues and 1950's rock 'n' roll while 'Track Of You' shows that Alice and Gianfranco have not forgotten how to groove. But enough of my clumsy attempts to introduce ALICE TAMBOURINE LOVER to you. In short, 'Naked Songs' is a magic album that deserves your attention. It helps to ease pain and can give new hope and new confidence. Moreover, its one of those records that is, in the most essential sense of the word, timeless. Highly recommended.