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(66 min, Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Murmures Intro 0:43 2. Les Choucroutiers du Pouvoir 5:05 3. Taut Augmente 3:45 4. Des Nuages sur les Vosges 3:50 5. Le Grincement de la Chaussure 4:40 6. Caline 3:03 7. Antoinette 5:06 8. L'avateur de Sabre 1:00 9. Lesbien 3:30 10. Amour Solaire 4:05 11. Dans mon Automne Mobile 4:20 12. Peau de Lune 4:48 13. Le Temps Traine des Pieds 1:54 14. Cannabis Bleu Pale 6:35 15. Baisers Voles 2:30 16. Si J'avais des Alies 3:50 17. Murmures 8:30 All tracks: by C Decamps. Produced & engineered by T Decamps. LINE-UP: Christian Decamps - vocals; acoustic guitar; keyboards Tristan Decamps - keyboards; guitars; vocals Hassan Hajdi - guitars Daniel Haas - basses Alain Blanc - drums Jean Tugler - bass, electric & acoustic guitars With: Thierry Sidhoum - contrabass Matthieu Chaussalet - accordion & some more musicians
Prolusion. The permanent singer and probably the main driving force of France's Art-Rock legend Ange, Christian DECAMPS continues walking his solo path in the company of "FILS", most of whom, though, are the former and present members of still the same Ange. "Murmurs" is the fifth studio effort by the project, following "Le Mal d'Adam" (1980), "Juste Une Ligne Bleu" (1990), "Nu" (1994), and "Troiseme Etoile a Gauche" (1998). The album was produced and engineered by multi-instrumentalist Tristan Decamps, whose name you can see in the lineup. This is none other than Christian's own son.
Analysis. There is nothing particularly unexpected about this album. Christian still has lots of inspiration and is an amazingly multifaceted chameleon singer. Nevertheless, his distinctive theatrical way of singing is immediately recognizable, due to which there is rather much in common between "Murmures" and the latest albums by Ange. The fact that it's still Christian who penned all the music and lyrics shouldn't be disregarded in this respect too. Our hero is just murmuring in Intro, and there are a few more pieces representing his poetic narration with minimum instrumental accompaniment: Des Nuages sur les Vosges, L'avateur de Sabre, and Le Temps Traine des Pieds. These four, and also the Pop Rock songs Antoinette and Lesbien, don't touch my heart. The other eleven tracks are better, and I think Christian could have contented himself with them, especially since they run 55 minutes. Four of them: Taut Augmente, Caline, Dans mon Automne Mobile, and Peau de Lune are complicated Art-Rock ballads with elements of French chanson and lots of acoustic textures. Nice stuff. Modern electronically symphonic music with dramatic vocals is presented on Le Grincement de la Chaussure and Amour Solaire, both being quite mesmerizing. Structurally or, rather, by sound, they remind me a bit of Genesis's "Invisible Touch". The best compositions are located at the beginning of the album and at the end. The first real song, Les Choucroutiers du Pouvoir, is a real progressive Cathedral Metal and is unique by all means, not because it is probably for the first time that Decamps has appealed to that genre. The last four songs: Cannabis Bleu Pale, Baisers Voles, Si J'avais des Alies and the title track are closer to the classic Ange sound, though the presence of chamber instruments (piano, violin and cello) gives a more classical feel to them. In any case, these quite well correspond to my conception of symphonic Art-Rock.
Conclusion. While mostly melodic and accessible, the music on "Murmures" is exclusively original and is so tasty that it's impossible to withstand its charm. Most of the Neo performers should take lessons from Mr. Decamps before making their next effort. Recommended, especially to those into melodic Symphonic Progressive.
VM: January 13, 2005
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