Album Review: An Early Bird – Of Ghosts and Marvels

Here at Backseat Mafia, we have been following the career of Stefano De Stefano since our very inception when he was the front man for Italian folk/rock band Pipers. He has now ventured out on his own under the moniker An Early Bird and released his first full length album ‘Of Ghosts and Marvels’.

Of his old career under Pipers, De Stefano says:

I consider 10 years and 3 albums with Pipers a strong training ground: we had a
brilliant time playing alongside some of the artists we’ve been loving since our first
approach to music. I used to play music and work as postman at the same time: on
Friday morning I was delivering letters and a few hours later I was flying to
Northampton to perform before Turin Brakes.

It was a courageous time of life, made of passionate choices like flying to
Wolverhampton and record with the producer Gavin Monaghan… I used all this stuff to
focus on what I ever wanted to do in life.

If there’s one thing one can glean from this, and underlined throughout the album, is that De Stefano is a hopeless romantic and a passionate musician dedicated to his craft. ‘Of Ghosts and Marvels’ is a terrific album – infused with crystal clear instrumentation, multi-layered, expressive with an underpinning acoustic crispness. De Stefano’s gloriously expressive and romantic lyrics and his wistful longing voice glide effortlessly over the music. Take, for example, my favourite track “At Sunset” with its insistent wild strings interspersed by De Stefano’s cool, laid back verses and heartfelt, anguished chorus. It is a tremendously beautiful song:

‘Warning Signs’, another single off the album, is a contemplative ballad with a gorgeous film clip and haunting back up singing by Georgiana Craciun (who also backs up on a number of other tracks off the album):

The rest of the album maintains the strength of De Stefano’s writing: beautiful, lush instrumentation and hook-laden anthems filled with De Stefano’s passion and emotion and a degree of endearing naivety. Think of Sufjan Stevens in a band with Phoenix.

You can download/stream the album now form your favourite sources here or through his site below:

An Early Bird is on tour in November throughout Europe: details here.

Recorded, mixed and produced in Venice by Andrea Liuzza.
Mastered by Aidan Foley at Masterlabs, Dublin.
Vocals, backing vocals, guitars, harmonica, dulcimer, acoustic piano by Stefano De Stefano.
Additional electric piano, strings arrangement, double bass, percussions and drums by Andrea Liuzza.
Female vocals on To The Trees, Warning Signs, Your Sewn Mouth Secrets and Still I Had To Love You by Georgiana Craciun.
All songs written by Stefano De Stefano.
Artwork by Maria Ballarin for My Paper Tales.

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