Franco Turra first came to my attention by way of his contribution to the XTC tribute tape SKYLACKING with “Erba.” This was a root-and-branch reconstruction of the classic “Grass,” in Italian, yet! What a fabulous rearrangement, evoking images of European peasants recreating (and possibly procreating) in a village square. Doublets and jerkins abounded... While the European peasants come out to frolic again in COMPLIMENTI, the most noticeable influence on these new tracks is XTC circa SKYLARKING and ENGLISH SETTLEMENT. “Serpente Di Qual Che Giorno” displays these influences proudly, particularly in the use of acoustic instruments and percussion. And it also includes a coda that wouldn’t be out of place on a Dukes Of Stratosphear album. And Franco is the only vocalist I’ve heard who can successfully take on Andy Partridge on the vocal gymnastics parallel bars and still sound original. Bellissimo. But wait, Franco has been listening to the boys from Mount Temple Comprehensive also; “Mica Tu”evokes pleasant (?) memories of U2’s ACHTUNG BABY. Certain moments grate, however; “Una Gran Costanza” sounds too much like the Pistols doing “Stepping Stone” (watch them vocal cords, Franco...). The exclusive use of Italian lyrics is an obvious impediment to international success (sad, but true) but Franco has the compositional and arranging talent to produce a cracker of an instrumental album that would undoubtedly have wide appeal. And if he’s stuck for an English-language lyricist, he can always give me a call. Or maybe he’d be better off with somebody good... All in all, on the basis of COMPLIMENTI, we certainly won’t be kicking Franco Turra out of bed for eating crackers.....(via Castiglione 91, 40136 Bologna Italy) Daniel Prendiville