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Jack Dupon - L'Echelle du Desir CD (album) cover

L'ECHELLE DU DESIR

Jack Dupon

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

2.37 | 11 ratings

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The Hemulen
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars 2.5 stars.

I'm sorry to say that, to my ears at least, Jack Dupon are not much of an avant-prog band. Whilst this album displays touches of dissonance and a few quirky moments, the vast majority of this album is straight-up Progressive Rock, albeit with a rawness and directness that easily sets it apart from the keyboard-drenched likes of Yes and many of their contemporaries. The yowling guitar solos, pounding drums and throbbing bass which drive this album are far more reminiscent of King Crimson than Henry Cow or Thinking Plague. And as if that wasn't enough, surely the fact that this album kicks off with an "epic" song that's just shy of thirty minutes should make it abundantly clear that this rock with a capital Prog?

Whilst I could never accuse this album of being musically dull or unadventurous, it's certainly not the most exciting or original thing I've ever heard. It probably doesn't help that it's all so guitar-orientated - after thirty minutes of relentless electric guitar, bass and drums with a few theatrical Etron Fou-esque vocals thrown in for good measure I was pretty knackered and wanted something different. But that was only one song out of the way, and the remaining four (including another epic of 23 minutes) offered nothing new in the way of instrumentation or musical style (save for a few token psych-y moments here and there). Really, for such a limited range of sounds, an album of half this length would suffice, and probably pack a much better punch in the process.

There are also a few attempts at humour to be found on this album. The majority of the vocals are in French so I wouldn't like to say for certain but their delivery suggests a definite tongue-in-cheek approach, and the arrangements occasionally descend into sub-Samla musical japery. I've nothing against humour in music (far from it - my username here is a Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band reference, after all!) but it doesn't always sit well alongside long-form proggy jams which seem intent on "rocking out" wherever possible.

This isn't a bad album by any means, and would certainly appeal to anyone looking for some quirky, playful prog with strong rock focus. Anyone hoping for something really new or challenging may well be better off looking elsewhere.

Still, this is a debut album from a new band so I don't wish to be too harsh. There's a lot of potential here, but much of it remains untapped for now.

On a final, and more universally positive note - the packaging and artwork for this album is lovely. The inside images are of a host of superbly costumed figures (which may or may not relate to the lyrical content of the album) in a variety of posed scenarios, perfectly emphasising the theatrical nature of Jack Dupon's music.

The Hemulen | 2/5 |

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