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(61:54, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Le Labyrinthe 9:15 2. Jeudi Poisson 10:34 3. Sombre Trafic 3:40 4. Marmite 8:55 5. Le Chateau De L'Elephant 6:26 6. Cravate 9:27 7. Oppression 13:37 LINEUP: Arnaud M'Doihoma – bass; vocals Gregory Pozzoli – guitars; vocals Philippe Prebet – guitars; vocals Thomas Larsen – drums; vocals
Prolusion. The French ensemble JACK DUPON has been around for a few years now, with the roots of this band going back to 2001. The concept behind Jack Dupon developed at a later stage however, and the calendar had turned to 2008 before they released their debut album "L'Echelle du Desir". "Demon Hardi" is their second effort, and was issued by Musea Records in early 2011.
Analysis. A four man strong band consisting of a lead vocalist with instrumental duties, and the only instruments utilized are drums, bass and guitar is a common construction all across the rock universe, from tired blues bands playing in front of small pub audiences to internationally acclaimed stadium rock outfits. And while one might assume that the potential for creating original music with such a constellation is limited, Jack Dupon is ample proof of the opposite. And while not exactly being the instigators of a musical or stylistic revolution as such, they have chosen to inhabit a part of the art rock realm that isn't exactly overly populated, proving music that can and will be described as adventurous, to some extent original, most certainly challenging and very much demanding. Taking their cues from artists like King Crimson, Frank Zappa and Les Claypool, this French quartet takes its listeners on a rollercoaster ride that will make an impression. The compositions tend to be on the long side, and while themes are explored, the band shies away from most forms of predictable behavior while doing so. The developments are unexpected; the repetitions too, sometimes elongated stays within a set framework, at other times with almost cyclic constructions circulating, and on a regular basis with unexpected inserts, when you think you know what's coming next. Dampened elegant moods and aggressive and at times frantic excursions are both at home in their repertoire, just as often side by side as individually explored in separate compositions. A central premise throughout is the use of slightly distorted and subtly atonal guitar textures, usually with one guitar providing a leading motif while the other underscores with a more dampened and careful delivery that adds the finer details in the arrangements. But contrasting pair offs aren't far between either, more often than not wildly so. In all manner of varieties all around, staccato aggressive arrangements reflecting back towards punk or ska just as common as dream-laden, drawn out notes in a manner similar to what Robert Fripp explored with King Crimson in the early 80's. Reverberating psychedelic moods are another aspect visited occasionally, at other times the level of distortion and intensity close in on the territories of acts like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, but without distinct metal riffs and totally without growling I might add. Jack Dupon does opt for a singular vocal delivery though, their theatrical lead vocals I personally associate with French artists in general and acts like Ange in particular, but with a broader range of diversity. Those not fond of that approach won't be too bothered with it anyhow, as this is a production with most of it's playtime in instrumental territories.
Conclusion. While I wasn't enthralled as such by this album, I'm a hard-to-satisfy customer as far as this type of art rock goes, Progressive rock with a capital P is what the French four-piece Jack Dupon provides on their second album "Demon Hardi". Those who know and love music described as Rock In Opposition and Avant-garde should take notice of this one, and in particular those who have artists like King Crimson, Frank Zappa and Les Claypool side by side in their music collection.
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