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1. La Cour des Miracles 11:25 (C. Houssin) 2. Insomnies 9:10 (C. Houssin) 3. Delenda Est 6:57 (C. Houssin) 4. April Theme 9:48 (P. Jobard, C. Houssin, L. Houssin) 5. La Citadelle 2:50 (C. Houssin) 6. Posterite 15:42 (P. Jobard, C. Houssin )
All lyrics by Laurent Haussin. Recorded and mixed by C. Houssin and other Cafeine members at "La Citadelle" studio.
Line-up: Christophe Houssin - keyboards; Patrick Jobard - guitars, lead (on 4) and backing vocals; Philippe Ladousse - lead (except 4) & backing vocals; Jean-Christophe Lamoreux - bass, sitar; Herve Morel - drums & percussion
Guest musicians: Charly Guillon - oboe; Nathalie Lefebre - flute; Benoit Tremolieres - Uillean pipes
Prologue. Many thanks to one of the Cafeine's masterminds Patrick Jobard, who have lately sent me their debut CD (autographed by him himself) despite I recently wrote not too positive review on their second album. So, thank you, Patrick, because "La Citadelle" just blows me away...
The album. Truly Classic Symphonic Art Rock with some Neo-Classical elements, often sounding like some 'major' Progressive Rock band from the middle of the 1970s, Cafeine on their debut CD weaves a complex and at the same time beautiful, entrancing music. They (always) sing in French, - a language I do not know at all (though, the words "Chercher la femme" are always exciting for me, as well as for most of the Southern Russian men whose nature has French or Italian sense really rather than our Northern 'offshoot's' one) , but with "La Citadelle" that didn't hinder my pleasure in the least. Unlike Cafeine's second disc with a strange vocal "strategy" (formula?) "to each (different singer) - his own (song)", this one has a united vocal conception throughout the album with diverse - from dramatic to 'pompous', but always wonderful - vocal lines within each separate song. Unique instrumental arrangements 'work' on "La Citadelle" their own original and multifarious way constantly and as if independently of anything - in the album's instrumental parts and 'to the accompaniment' of singing as well. Compositions range from the mostly vocal-based (Incomnies) through the songs with extensive instrumental fields (La Cour des Miracles, April Theme and Posterite) to purely instrumental pieces (Delenda Est and the title-track). And while Delenda Est is a traditional truly progressive instrumental (with rich and diverse arrangements, time signatures, etc), playing by all the band members and showing their brilliant musicianship, La Citadelle, being a 'child' of keyboards and wind instruments, has an obvious symphonic feel with some hints to Classical Music.
Summary. All in all, "La Citadelle" is among the best progressive works released in the first half of the 1990s. Also, despite the music of this album is quite a complex, thanks to the musicians' wonderful intuitive sense of melody "La Citadelle" will be highly appreciated not only by the mature music lovers, but by their adventurous enough Neo brothers in 'progressive reason' too.
VM. February 23, 2001
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