Westcoast AOR with Pop leanings is the trademark of the debut album of Fab Box. The Italian duo has a knack to create highly melodic songs, showcasing a winning combination composed of super catchy hooklines, vocal harmonies with guitar riffs and solos, all based on a foundation of acoustic guitars. The outcome is a striking rock album, rooted in the sound of The Eagles, the Little River Band and Orleans, that will appeal to fans of Richard Marx, John Waite, Rick Price, King Of Hearts, Mark Spiro, as well as to devotees of Bryan Adams, Glass Tiger, BB Mak and Toto.
Fabrizio Ugolini and Massimo Bozzi are the name givers of the duo FAB BOX. The two Italians are musical partners since ten years, during this time they primarily (co-)wrote songs for other artists. In the Rock genre the co-operations with former Toto-vocalist Joseph Williams on the Vertigo 2-project and Tyketto shouter Danny Vaughn on his first From The Inside album deserve a special mention. Over the course of the years these fine songwriters built a considerable catalogue of songs, from which they chose the best ones for their recording debut.
The result with its fresh and relaxed sounds turns the Italian Adriatic Coast, where both reside, into a “branch” of the American Westcoast during the heyday of US Westcoast Rock.
The songwriter duo shares the lead vocals and also a lot of the instruments were recorded in their home studio. The lead guitars were handled by local luminaries like Paolo Pedretti, Tonino Landini, Andrea Leonardi and Paolo Gennari. The licks and solos of these skilled craftsmen grace every album track and so they add splendidly to make the album an all around enjoyable Rock record. Furthermore recording credits go to drummer Elyan Fernova, Los Angeles based Fabrizio “V.zee” Grossi (Robin Beck, Glenn Hughes, Ambition) on bass, who is an old companion of Fabrizio, as well as Marco Bozzi and Melissa Ugolini on background vocals.
Most of the songs are kept in midtempo and I promise you, that you will join every chorus, when you hear it for the second time, at the latest. These guys really know how to write a great hookline for a song.
The first impressive proof of this is “Tell Her I’m Alright”, a rocker, easily fitting on a John Waite album, with verses accompanied by acoustic guitars, while the ear candy chorus is underlaid with a powerful guitar riff.
“Nobody Tonight” hits the same mark and will win you over with an amazing guitar solo, courtesy of Paolo Pedretti. “Inside” slows down the tempo a bit without abandoning the catchyness and a guitar solo. The poppy intro to “The Key” merges into a rocking rhythm guitar groove which leads to a chorus part full of harmony vocals, before the last section of the song is dominated by the licks of guitar player Andrea Leonardi. The following ballad “A Matter Of Time” and another midtempo song, called “Let Me Try”, bring us to one of the albums highlights, “Together”. This track was co-written by Joseph Williams for the second Vertigo album and it shows some signature trademarks of Williams-era Toto. A very strong composition is the ballad “I Still Believe”, with its traces of Richard Marx and a very soulful guitar solo by Tonino Landini. We return to midtempo mode with “Reason Of The Heart” and “Call My Name“, a very radio friendly song in the vein of the Rick Price debut, this time the guitar leads are shared by Paolo Pedretti and Paolo Gennari. Gentle and enriched by piano stylings
“You Are The One” is a track with a silky melody, that every hit song writer would love to have in his portfolio. The hit factor is also reflected in “Always”. Together with Fabrizio and Massimo, Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn is the co-writer of this song and it can also be found on the debut of Danny’s solo project From The Inside. For this first single of the Fab Box album a sophisticated promotion video was shot, based on a concept by Fabrizio. The rocking shuffle groove of “Yesterday” closes a terrific album, which will make you forget some of your everyday worries with its catchiness and lightheartedness, and that will bring its main characters Fabrizio Ugolini and Massimo Bozzi to the forefront of the Rock guild.
(Words : Gregor Klee)
Biography - Fab Box (Fabrizio Ugolini and Massimo Bozzi)
The individual musical history of the two Fab Box members started way before they met in the late 90s.
Fabrizio Ugolini was a member of the successful Italian Cult Hard Rockers Revenge since 1982 and when the band disbanded in the late 80s he joined Brando, a band whose line-up also included Fabrizio “V.zee” Grossi (producer of Robin Beck, James Christian and Tommy Funderburk) with whom he toured internationally. But this episode didn’t last too long and following the split-up of Brando, Fabrizio dropped out of the musical business to work as a comic book artist for Marvel and a storyboard artist for video productions, including Sting’s “Freak The Mighty”.
Massimo Bozzi started out in the late 80s in a band called Spin Out and eventually became the tour keyboarder for famous Italian Pop singers like Lucia Dalla and Gianni Morandi. In 1990 and 1993 he released two solo albums on the major label EMI, by that time he also started a long lasting and very successful working relationship with the Italian Pop star Mina, for whom he worked as a songwriter, musician and arranger.
The story of Fab Box began in 1999 when Fabrizio Ugolini and Massimo Bozzi met in a local recording studio, soon after they started to write songs together and they also did some local gigs. Through their connection to producer Fabrizio “V.zee” Grossi they became the chance to write songs for solo projects of Danny Vaughn (Tyketto) and Joseph Williams (Ex-Toto). Based on the success of their works for others and the great chemistry between them, the duo decided to record their own album.
“Music From The Fab Box“ is the impressive showcase, featuring songs in the best tradition of
classic Westcoast AOR and Melodic Rock with a healthy dose of Pop.
Quotes from reviews of “Music From The Fab Box” :
George Thatcher - glorydaze.com (Rating 9 / 10)
“What a pleasant surprise this is ! Fab Box, the cleverly named duo of Fabrizio Ugolini and Massimo Bozzi have landed a quite beautiful light AOR / West Coast album. It swims in the same bay as Richard Marx, On The Rise (a lighter version thereof) and early Ian Thomas“
Gabor Kleinbloesem - Strutter Magazine (Rating 8,4 / 10)
“'Music From The Fab Box' sounds like a great AOR record, not to be missed by the fans of the genre...the result is a very satisfying AOR album that contains some beautiful melodies and hooks.“
Nigel Wilson - Mood Swings
“AOR is like "coming home" for me and it is therefore no surprise that tracks like "Together", "I Still Believe", "Reason Of The Heart" and "Always" are the ones that particularly appealed to me”
Audiodrome.it - Marco Priulla
“The record shows various influences like Richard Marx and David Roberts, Foreigner and Toto, a typical US West Coast flavour, with touches of Melodic Rock and Country Rock (e.g. latter day The Eagles), cool rock guitar solos and above all, great songwriting“
Beppe "HM" Diana- HardnHeavy.org (Rating 5 / 5)
“A record full of melodic, radio airplay material, where elegant arrangements, catchy melodies and classy harmonies are embodied in a pure and clean production, a crossover between classic AOR and typical West Coast sound that reminds me of Richard Marx, Toto, Steven Curtis Chapman & Mark Spiro“
Andrea "Emo" Punzo - hardsounds.it (Rating 80 / 100)
“A mature, enjoyable record, a crossover between Melodic Rock, purest AOR and sophisticated Pop Rock with West Coast flavour. Fresh, light songs with catchy melodies and classy arrangements.“