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Minimum Vital - Capitaines CD (album) cover


Minimum Vital


Eclectic Prog

3.51 | 51 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Delightfully symphonic, here is an album that is a mixed bag. While much of it falls into the unremarkable category, there are some absolutely stellar moments to be heard (like the opener- would that the whole album possessed such masterful charm). Very little is bad, but a fair bit tends to be derivative or repetitive. I find the lead guitar refreshing throughout, both in tone and technique. Overall, this is a fine acquisition, especially for those who would be interested to hear what it might sound like if Steve Hackett teamed up with Gentle Giant.

"She Moves Through the Fair" A masterful beginning, the opening track boasts a smooth bit of clean electric guitar, synthesizer, and, while maintaining a cheerful pace, introduces terse vocal moments similar to those on early Steve Hackett albums. The music is a bit disorderly when broken down into parts, but sounds magnificent as a whole (Hackett's "Ace of Wands" comes to mind).

"Avec Uppsala" On the other hand, this saccharinely giddy bit of semi-tribal music is not for me, and though I don't care for the synthesizer work, the lead guitar throughout is spot on. The music overall could be best described as modern Yes on happy pills.

"Mauresque" After a decidedly symphonic introduction, this piece has light percussion, a steady bass, and plenty of synthesizer to go around. Light harp and whistle develops a more pastoral feel.

"En Terre EtrangŔre" I can't shake the belief that this piece belongs in the soundtrack of a goofy kiddie movie (Spy Kids 15: Porky's Curse perhaps). It has a rather dull denouement where it is easy to lose interest, all the way to when the track fizzles out.

"La Croix De Bourghi Band˘" This brief song is almost as peppy as "Avec Uppsala." It has some interesting bass and organ interplay, and the ever-so-solid lead guitar is there.

"Le Chant De Gauthier" Hand percussion and light electric guitar ease in organ and other instruments to craft the album's longest track. Once it gets going, it maintains a repetitive rhythm that gradually becomes more irritating, largely due to the inappropriate organ tone and the grating vocals. The lead guitar as usual compensates for a great deal of any shortcomings.

"En Superb˘" Clean guitar with a bite offers a faded backing for graceful piano and jazz guitar to dance over. Those sections are far superior to the verses, which don't seem to fit the music well. The subsequent guitar and synthesizer work are excellent, however.

"Capitaines" More swampy guitar and over-the-top layered vocals begin this one. Hand percussion and intricate guitar work weave in and out with the rest of the instrumentation. After a rhythmic change, a synthesizer solo ensues.

"La Route" Acoustic guitar and a mandolin lead plays with each other before another playmate- a whistling synthesizer- joins the game. It has an archaic minstrel feel, somewhat similar to some of Gentle Giant's comparable recordings, even vocally. An explosion of organ and electric guitar facilitates further vocalizations.

Epignosis | 3/5 |


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