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Magma - Merci CD (album) cover





2.53 | 191 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Mercy me? Merci!

Well, um?

There's a lot to say about this one and yet, not much at all. Perhaps one of the most hated albums of all time by fans and anyone who has ever heard it, Merci is infamous French-mutant-jazzers Magma's attempt to pioneer a more viable ground for the subgenre of music, Zeuhl, that they had founded in the 70s. This would be an impossible task in hindsight, being that any Zeuhl will, and always has been, a very, very, very acquired taste - a subgenre where the majority of the sane population (proggers, of course, exempt) will laugh at hearing the best of the best of the albums to come from this scene if they don't understand the purpose of it.

All things aside, Merci is like the lovechild of Magma and Abba when the two of them were piss drunk at a rave one night and decided to get at it without protection. Of course, Abba did a lot of drugs during the pregnancy. When the baby was finally born in 1984 it was this - the bloody mash-up of Zeuhl and disco which vomits all over itself whimpering, ''please kill me?''. Right off the bat from the faux-oriental strings of Call From The Dark (Ooh Ooh Baby) (yes - a band who sings in a made up language from another planet called the opening track Ooh Ooh Baby) the band trips over its own horn section and attempts to get on its way.

Now we all have to admit something before we continue - as disgusting as it is - this album can be terribly catchy. Somehow, in some way, listening to Vander sing soft sections meant to seduce some kind of deaf woman on Otis or the Meatloaf-esque sections of I Must Return are actually rather amusing, and may actually prompt you to listen to the album a couple more times before your make your final judgment on it - hating yourself and crying a silent tear the entire way, of course.

Musically, compositionally, this is nothing like the Magma of yore, which is probably the only reason why they have fans in the first place. People seem to like that tense atmosphere and the whimsy of the chanting sections, or the tight-as-hell playing on the previous records that makes one wonder how a band were ever capable of playing so well. Merci is not like it - it's the bubble-gum pop of the progressive world, right up there with Big Generator and Love Beach - worse, perhaps.

The sole song worth saving on here, as others have mentioned, also happens to be the longest piece. Unfortunately, it still pales in comparison to the majority of Magma's library, being that is ranges somewhere between Disney soundtrack and Jon & Vangelis. Still, Eliphas Levi is worth listening to at least once or twice for the hardened Magma fan, since its atmosphere is actually somehow as tense as it was on MDK - but still, it's no crowning achievement.

Overall, a good album if you're into very strange disco ? for everyone else, this is an avoid. However, since it comes with the newly released Studio Zund, I still recommend that fans take a listen to better appreciate Magma's classic works, and maybe get a cheap laugh. 1 star out of 5 - for Fans only, and don't buy it unless it's coming with the rest of the box set - seriously.

Queen By-Tor | 1/5 |


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