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Garolou - Mémoire vive CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.49 | 9 ratings

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2 stars Perhaps buoyed by their "Reunion" live album of 1995, the core members of GAROLOU regrouped in 1999 for what appears to have been a one-off studio project as of this date. Given how the live work was justifiably focused on their first 3 and best albums from 1976-1980, it's rather disappointing that "Memoire Vive" is more in the vein of the dispirited "Centre Ville" from 1982.

Most of the tracks find refuge in a generic soft rock format, smooth and admittedly melodic but lacking the serration of their best work, where the band more than overcame and even capitalized on the dearth of traditional instrumentation with a rustic allure. One major exception is the reggae tinged "La fille du roi d'Espagne", which triumphantly resurrects the group's fascination with historical settings, a feat not repeated enough elsewhere in this offering. Two folk-country tunes "Le cheval en peinture" and "Mes souliers sont ronds" are enjoyable enough without scaling previous peaks. The opening number "Quand l'amour n'y est pas" is by far the most impressive of the slick arrangements that dominate the rest of the disc, and the enthusiasm from the albeit modest levels wanes noticeably on the last few tracks.

The problem with such reunion projects is that, rather than rejuvenating the dwindling fan base with vivid memories of how things were, they make us wonder whether we overrated even the classic material. While slightly better than "Centre Ville", this is substantially inferior to "Romancero", with which it cannot share the middling rung. 2.5 stars rounded down then.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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