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Potemkine - Nicolas II CD (album) cover

NICOLAS II

Potemkine

 

Zeuhl

3.96 | 41 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Strangely enough, I thought I had written a review for ll Potemkine some two years back.... Oh well!! ;o))

Potemkine's last album is more of a return to their Foetus origins than Triton was, since we see the return of one of the Goubin brothers (Michel) as a full-time member, but also musically with a return to jazzier-rock than Triton. Armed with a superb proggy artwork, the group's soundscapes are definitely fusionesque, this could be their easiest album to get into.

The band's Brand of JR/F is not so much of the X type (less flashy), rather more in the MO, RTF, the Spanish group Iceberg or their countrymen Transit Express mould, but the Zeuhl influence is still resent in some tunes, mainly through Dubuisson's bass. Yes, we're very much into the typical mid-70's fusion wit the usual prog-quartet line-up, so it's not like the fusionhead will be unsettled, as there are plenty of 100 MPH tracks, namely the excellent Mahavishnu-esque Tango. The following Raspoutine is the only track that refers to the Russian-derived album title.

Sometimes things can get a bit funky with Swing Imaginaire (where the group adds some ethnic instruments too), but they can also slow down to a more delicate Air De Famille, which goes through a wide array of ambiances and dynamics, despite being the second- shortest track on the album ? this also goes for the album-shortest Aux Images. The album's highlight is the slow-starting Ode To Mars that slowly evolves in a scorching rapid- fire fusion, but the closing Amphitheatre Magique is also fine in my book, and the only time on the album where you'll hear some choirs.

So in terms of accessibility of the music, Nicolas II is easier to get into, but not that much more than their debut foetus album, of which most of the album is featured in the bonus tracks (read my review of that album in the specific Foetus page). Sooo don't expect Nicolas to sound like Triton, strictly on the assumption that it is the follow-up album, but think of an up-graded but wiser (no violin or choirs) Foetus album. A typical 70's JR/F album but also their more conventional (IMHO), a bit like there were dozens of them around at the time.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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