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Ange - Le Cimetière Des Arlequins CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.52 | 188 ratings

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2 stars Sometimes you just don't get it. Other times you simply dislike it. For this writer, the experience of hearing landmark French band Ange's second release was somewhere in between. And though it could be said that the murky production adds character to the recording, that atmosphere will only be appreciated if an equal appreciation is had for the music. The word "theatrical" is frequently used to describe Christian and Francis Decamps' legendary sound and it is a fitting M.O., in fact there are times on Le Cimetiere des Arlequins that are more theater than anything else, certainly than rock music. And perhaps that's where I part with the generally enthusiastic write-ups the album receives. Theatricality is one thing, actual theater is something else, and I can only assume it is the dervish-like yelling and ponderous moaning of Christian Decamps that distracts from my enjoyment of an otherwise interesting symphonic album. That and the distant, bassy mix aren't the only issues, either: the songs seem to drag on a bit when the material should either tighten up or fly out into space completely. Instead, the capable 5-piece often walk the fence between inventive Prog and trance-induced operetta, neither method quite honed enough to completely satisfy, the result being closer to the sound of five friends and copious amounts of marijuana having a thoroughly good time in a rented studio. And as a listener, "You had to be there" is undoubtedly high praise.

That's not to say there are no good moments here, though the fumbling 'Ces Gens-la' is not one of them save an angular keyboard bridge and reasonably strong finale. More focused and energized is 'Aujourd'hui c'est la Fête chez l'Apprenti-Sorcier' as it wanders through Christian's whispers, Nice-like 'Bivouac-1ère partie' is weird, features Decamps' tetched oration and some good jazzrock passages, and Daniel Haas's nylon string guitar carries pretty L'espionne Lesbienne' with its ersatz Brazilian undercurrents. Driving rock in 'Bivouac Final', nauseating pap of 'De Temps en Temps', bucolic 'La Route aux Cypres', and some off-key cabaret with Decamps' nails-on-a-chalkboard vocals killing the title cut.

Disappointing to be sure but not a deal breaker for these guys, and I suspect they were capable of far better. A regrettable two stars.

Atavachron | 2/5 |


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