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Rousseau (Germany) - 2002 - "At the Cinema"
(47 min, "Musea")

Track List:

1. Welcome To the Cinema 0:55
2. Now Or Never 3:10
3. Rendezvous 5:05
4. All I Want 3:34
5. Waterfront 3:21
6. If This is Heaven 5:10
7. Retreat 2:56
8. Back In These Arms 4:06
9. Seattle 3:16
10. Shot Cut To Somewhere 1:46
11. Halland 3:21
12. Through 2:42
13. Amour Fou 3:26
14. At the Cinema 4:25

All tracks: by Rousseau.


Jorg Schwarz - electric & acoustic guitars; vocals
Rainer Hofmann - piano & synthesizers
Dieter Beermann - basses
Ali Pfeffer - drums 

Guest Musicians:

Jan Muhldorfer - piano (on 6)
Werner Wilker - bass (on 6)
Wolfgang Schwarz - viola (on 8)
Klaus Thiessen - accordion (on & 11)

Produced by Rousseau & Peter Narvollka.
Engineered at "Tonstudio", Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

Preamble. Rousseau is another phenomena that entered a new millennium from Progressive's past, though these German guys are not as old and are by no means as famous as Thijs Van Leer of Focus, whose brand new album I have recently reviewed. "At the Cinema" is the fourth album by Rousseau - see the band's discography below.

The Album. There is the equal number of instrumental pieces and songs on this album. In fact however, all of the fourteen tracks that Rousseau presented on "At the Cinema" are just ballads - regardless of whether they feature the vocal parts or not. Musically, this album (opus!) represents nothing else but a melodic Pop (no, not even an AOR!). Furthermore, everything but the solos of electric guitar sounds here more than merely synthetic. I really wonder, why these uncles try to imply that a real drummer played on the album (see line-up)? Do they really think that Prog-lovers are complete blockheads who aren't able to distinguish an awful drum-machine from a real drummer? (I wonder where did they dig up such a galosh today?) Now, after listening to this album, I feel like I've just chewed up a pound of plastic. And almost all of these fourteen ballads on the CD are slow, sugary, and just incredibly monotonous! There is only one episode at this scary cinema (which is true from the progressive standpoint of view), Amour Fou, standing under the 'unhappy' number of baker's dozen, that can be regarded as the Neo instrumental. While such ballads as All I Want, Back In These Arms, Halland, and Through sound not only extremely primitive, but also plain common - not unlike the pub songs! No, Rousseau isn't a phenomenon: this is some phantom of a soap opera that had the cheek to slip through the Prog gate!

Summary. Here's a pretty kettle of fish! What a terrible return, hocus-pocus! You really must see this cinema to make certain of why this band returned! As a last resort (for details and antonyms), you should reread the review of "Focus 8". While I have to immediately cure my poor ears (that, after hearing this 'cinema', are withered like flowers on scorching asphalt) - by listening to any of the other albums that I've heard this autumn, at least. This time I am ready to say even the most blasphemous words: I'd better listen to any wannabe instead of this wonder-monster! Dear readers don't believe those who praise "At the Cinema"!

VM: December 4, 2002


- 1978 - "Flower In Asphalt"
- 1980 - "Retreat"
- 1986 - "Square the Circle"
- 2002 - "At the Cinema"

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