Saturday, 29 March 2014

Fitness Forever - Cosmos (OUT NOW!)

Lounge friendly mix of lite-jazz, light entertainment and euro-pop. (Out now on Elefant Records.)

Madrid indie label Elefant Records are on a roll at the moment. Hot on the heels of The Magic Theatre's second album comes another winning release. Cosmos is the second long player from Italian septet Fitness Forever. With a name like that you might think their music would be the perfect soundtrack for a strenuous gym workout but it's anything but. Instead it's a sophisticated, lounge-friendly mix of lite jazz, light entertainment and euro-pop. More smartly tailored mohair suit and patent leather shoes than lycra and headbands.

Sweeping in from the Mediterranean (Naples to be exact) is a warm front of sunny, orchestral pop which gently shifts from chintzy euro-pop, through jazz-infused swings and orchestral sweeps, into beach-friendly Tropicalia. With a cappucino at your side it's the perfect soundtrack for flicking through vintage copies of Vogue or Nova magazine. Add to this the album's all Italian vocals and true-to-period nod to bygone light entertainment and you get an idea of the record's charm.

Much like David Axelrod's early '70s output, the album is immensely sample-worthy, though with a less serious and weighty feel. Alongside Axelrod, the album's other musical touchstone is another musical great, the no less talented, sadly deceased Ronnie Hazelhurst. This thread of retro light entertainment runs right through the album. Despite the all Italian vocals, many of the tracks could be the theme tune to some short-lived and long-lost, vaguely melancholic US sitcom from the mid '70s economic lull. You know that two girls struggling in the big apple kind of vibe.

Cosmos has a unique appeal that just about steers clear of kitsch and manages to be both retro and modernist, nobody else is making music quite like Fitness Forever.

Click here for more on Fitness Forever.