SAN MARINO: Avantgarde - Miodio
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
The Sammarinese band put their nation on the map with this cromulent pop-rock album
As the answer to the rather challenging pub quiz question ‘Who was the first band to represent San Marino at the Eurovision Song Contest?’, Miodio also hold the rather embarrassing statistic associated to their name as they finished in last place at the 2008 Eurovision semi-final. Whilst their failure to score more than five points can be attributed to San Marino’s rather uninfluential stature on the global political stage, in a competition which is far more political in its scoring than it appears to be on the surface, one could also blame the song choice. Whilst Complice does feature in their 2011 album Avantgarde, it does not appear to be one of their better songs.
“Fortunately, the band seem to recognise that this is not where they are in the element and spend more time with uplifting tunes such as Nel tuo respiro and Realtà virtuale, which were it not for I Feel would definitely claim the title of best song. ”
Composed by keyboardist Francesco Sancisi and written by singer Nicola Della Valle, the track does not do the Sammarinese band justice. A moody indie-rock tune that is more dreary than moving, it is no great surprise that the band did not make it to the final. For Eurovision obsessives this was particularly disappointing as their neighbour, Italy, had withdrawn from the competition for 11 years by this point, thus denying fanatics of the competition the riches of Italian language music. On Avantgarde, Miodio prove that they are far more in their comfort zone on the poppier side of the pop-rock genre.
The album kicks off with a great dual-language tune, I Feel, which is a legitimately strong toe-tapper. This tune alone tells me that Miodio have talent, with the aforementioned Sancisi, as well as bassist Andrea Marco Pollice , clearly integral to what the band do, as both are responsible for the great synth-work. Miodio are clearly not one trick ponies either. The second Evoluzione genetica, has an early Mark Ronson quality to it, as a fine balance between great instrumentation, particularly Alessandro Gobbi on the drums, is struck with electronic production making it a fun space-pop track. If the attempt to create a space-pop feel needed any further confirmation, the lyrics of the chorus ‘lost in space’ in the subsequent track Perdo contatto most certainly do so.
This is where the band try to show off ambition and succeed in doing so as they go from slightly downbeat rap that accompanies Perdo contatto into bubblegum dance-pop with an edge in It’s Ok. However, this is where Miodio seem to fail in my eyes. Credo, much like Complice, is just a tad like a song by a moody teenager. Its unrefined nature reminds me of Afghan rockers Kabul Dreams, except with one big difference – I don’t buy the gloomy emotion behind the Sammarinese singer Della Valle’s vocals. Fortunately, the band seem to recognise that this is not where they are in the element and spend more time with uplifting tunes such as Nel tuo respiro and Realtà virtuale, which were it not for I Feel would definitely claim the title of best song.
Despite being the oldest sovereign nation in the world, I cannot pretend I was under any illusions in terms of the quality of the music scene that would be found in San Marino. With a population that is almost a similar size to that of Pride Park Stadium, home of second division football side Derby County here in England, it is unsurprising that there was not a wealth of albums to chose from. That said, Miodio definitely show some promise, particularly with the more energetic tunes. Furthermore, I have to give the band further credit simply for their name. It is a play on words, with the double meaning of Mio Dio (My God) o Mi odio (I hate myself) which certainly made me chuckle when I realised it.