Mirko Colombari – “Citizens of the war” ~ A solid, emotive and metaphoric rocker of a song!
I need to start this review with a disclaimer, that it was a little difficult for me to find information about today's artist Mirko Colombari. He seems to be an enigmatic figure, and adding to the difficulty of understanding him, he’s Italian and has a unique accent. Interestingly, Colombari chose to sing this particular song in English, which is certainly a curious creative decision on his part. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Overall, “Citizens of the war” is a very emotionally charged piece. Colombari’s smokey baritone voice is rich with feeling and conveys a sense of longing and determination. This is an important point, because English is very clearly not Colombari’s native language, and I was hard-pressed to understand the lyrics. Nonetheless, the sentiment of the song comes through and creates a compelling experience.
In terms of instrumentation, “Citizens of the war” is a fairly standard rock song. Starting with a driving acoustic guitar and Colombari’s deep, soulful vocals, the song builds over three and a half minutes. Electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, and a synthesizer fill out the arrangement as they come in, adding depth and energy part by part. It’s a conventional format, a tried and true recipe, and while Colombari certainly is not breaking any new ground with this song, he’s doing a fine job at working within the limits of his chosen genre.
I wish I could understand Colombari’s lyrics completely – I get a sense that they’re melancholic and probably in a metaphorical sense to convey the message that life is filled with challenges and struggles, much like being in a state of war which is also an ongoing thing, but to tell the truth I really can’t make any sort of judgment about his strengths or weaknesses as a lyricist or the content of the lyrics themselves. This is, as I alluded to earlier, a bold creative decision on Colombari’s part. In spite of itself, “Citizens of the war” achieves most of what I presume Colombari wanted it simply to be genuine, soulful, and aesthetic without necessarily being comprehensible to a native speaker of what is to him a foreign language.
The production quality of the song is good – all the instruments are well placed in the mix and the arrangement is well thought out for the most part. My biggest gripe is that a pretty aggressive lead guitar part comes in towards the end of the song that I feel should have been a solo, but instead competes with the lead vocal for attention. The other sticking point for me personally is that while Colombaris’ voice is low and impassioned, it is not well suited to a full-rock ensemble backing. While the beginning of the song works well as he sings over an acoustic part, as the song gets denser, his voice is buried, and this isn’t just a mixing issue – he just happens to have a voice that’s better suited to a more pared-back sound.
One place I can see this song really shining is in a live set. It has the feel of a performance that belongs on a stage rather than on a record. Regardless, the record is a solid one, and I do look forward to seeing what Colombari comes up with next.
Listen to "Citizens of the war" on Spotify here -
You can check out Mirko Colombari’s instagram profile here:
A brilliant addition to the repertoire -