Killing Cartisano is an ensemble project by Italian vocalist Roberta Cartisano, previously described as “emotional rock”. In a way, that sums it up – but for me, the description has a slightly dismissive, condescending air of “woman’s music” about it. Killing Cartisano is rock music – the best of which always has emotional content. Call it emotional rock if you like (or adult-oriented rock) but it’s rock music, and it’s good.

It ventures in to slightly different styles – one track a little funky, some tracks with a hint of folk and one track a little quiet – and yes, emotional – but the best rock albums always have this, too. It’s rock music that’s not stuck in a rut of creative poverty or based on a front of (toxic) masculinity.

Killing Cartisano has many moments that sound derivative – but derivative of so many varied styles that overall, it’s original. It uses the lexicon of classic rock like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Queens of the Stone Age as the tools to say something personal to Cartisano.

My only negative is that in places it’s a little difficult to pick out the lyrics because of Cartisano’s bold decision to write and sing in a foreign language (i.e. English). While the words may not always be pronounced as clearly as they could be, though, Cartisano is able to distil her ideas in to simple, effective language in a way that some native speakers can’t quite find. It’s almost as if the ideas are formed fully in the original language, without being stifled by trying to fit them in to a song structure right away.

The music has a loose, laid-back sound, and this approach really fits well with Killing Cartisano’s style and songwriting, which is quite 70s and Americana in its expansive and very musical way – not stripped back and simple, but bold and classic.

The variety in the instrumentation (do I hear theramin and bass clarinet?) counterbalances the deliberate lack of polish in the production, and overall, the record is very consistent in its feel. I don’t think that the vocals (which the album is centred around) would sit well in a more polished product. This variety of instruments are all part of the music in a much more integral way than the afterthought strings so common on 2000s rock singles to make them sound more epic – these songs have been crafted from the ground up with the instrumentation fundamental to each song’s identity.

Really interesting musician’s music, I would say – and strongly recommend anyone who is in to rock music to give it a go.

Killing Cartisano – Volume 1: Out Now on Broken Toys / Cargo Records


Chris Oliver

I've been playing bass guitar and guitar for over half my life. I last played bass in in a band called Electromotive and as a singer-songwriter I have written songs about cheese and vajazzles (separate songs!). I started out listening to 60s, 70s and 80s rock as a kid and I was in to grunge and U.S. punk and ska in the 90s. Since then, I've broadened my tastes and I like the best of all styles of music, even country. I've been writing for Silent Radio since it started.