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Mona Lisa - L'Escapade CD (album) cover


Mona Lisa


Symphonic Prog

3.56 | 39 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars There are extremely few reviews for this « Mona Lisa" debut album. Shame on you! (just kidding).

The instrumental intro from the opening track isis quite dark and oppressive; but the whole scent of this album is of the same vein. The superb "Le Fantôme de Galashiels" is one of the central pieces of this work. Of course, it is greatly "Ange" oriented. But since it was one of the greatest prog rock bands from France, there is nothing wrong here. Maybe some lack of originality.

Still, I quite like the French scene of these days. Even if the master ("Ange") will not be surpassed. I reckon though, that these complex French lyrics are not helping their cause! Even a short track as "Voyage Vers L'infini" demonstrates all the skills from this band.

Lots of passages are instrumental and if some of you are reluctant to the theatric tone of voice of their leading vocalist, they should be pleased to know this. I also have to say that even if I am a native French speaker, it is at times quite difficult to understand the wording sung by Dominique LeGuennec. Still, don't expect the same saucy lyrics (when understandable).

The early "Genesis" is of course the other major influence. But never blatant even if some "Watcher" passages can be smelled during "Les Vieilles Pierres" which is one of the highlights from this album.

One of my fave is by all means the sublime "Le Colpoteur". It is an extraordinary song which could sit in the Walhalla of prog songs. Great music, superb keyboards and meaningful lyrics. The exploding pre-finale is just magic. A highlight.

Still, the best is to come: "Petit Homme de la Terre" is the epic of this album and features some definite Tull filiation (flute and heavy sound) and the great early "Genesis" is of course very much present. The whole shows theme changes and musical maestria, with a French touch. Some sort of French "Musical Box"?Is it necessary to tell you that I quite like it?

This is quite an enjoyable album. When you listen to the powerful and melodic intro for "Diableries" you should be charmed as I was. Fluting and keys are clearly gorgeous. OK: this might not be 100% innovative, but "Mona Lisa" should be better considered IMHHO. Such songs should sit higher in the prog hierarchy. The wild finale reminds me of "Hogweed". From whom you might have heard?

Four stars seem legitimate to my ears. I wouldn't insist too much about the filiation between the closing "Les Vieilles Pierres" and "The Knife". You just have to know that there some similarities.

In all, I quite like this album and I rate it without any doubt with four stars. Do grab if you can and listen to it with a positive ear. An excellent debut; that's all I can say.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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