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Crossover Prog

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Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This album by Laura, a French band from the early nineteen eighties, can be a bit of a chore to listen to, but in the end it's well worth the effort.

The songs are frenetic, mostly high speed pieces that fall somewhere between Canterbury and Zeuhl styles. Most of the pieces are built around Jean Maurice Dutriaux' keyboards, which seem to evoke Kerry Minnear of Gentle Giant, Octopus-era, alternating with Styx. Drummer/percussionist Vincent Jany does a fabulous job keeping the rhythms going around this dervish.

The vocals can be a bit tiring. At times they are slightly off key, and the breathless sound of some of the almost spoken lyrics can add to this effect.

But fast and exciting reels me in, so I give it four stars.

Report this review (#618512)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Lost but not forgotten symphonic rock outfit.Formed in Roye,Northern France,Laura was an eight-piece band featiring among others two guitarists,two keyboardists with multiple vocal arrangements.The first self-titled album was released in 1980 on the band's own label Laura Records.

As indicated on the back cover in French,the album was recorded in a small studio in just a week under very difficult physical and technical conditions.Hence,the muddy production and uneven mix is a reasonable result.But the musicianship is great old-fashioned symphonic rock in the ANGE-ATOLL-MONA LISA tradition with folk traces here and there.''L'homme cagoule sans'' is absolutely intricate theatrical prog with a symphonic flavor,HACKETT-ish guitars and dominant organ.Even more theatrical and intense,''Le pyromane'' is characterized by the KEITH EMRSON-like organ and synth soloing among the nice symphonic structure.''L'huissier'' opens with lovely pastoral driving flutes in a WURTEMBERG-style and builds into dramatic ANGE- styled prog with expressive vocals.On the flipside ''Baisers d'ortie'' and ''Regards'' will soften things down full of acoustic passages,light organ and flutes,but again the theatrical vocals are there.The epic of the album,the 11-min. ''Jean-Daniel Fabulas'',was left for last to make the biggest impact.Excellent opening with acoustic guitars,deep synths and melodramatic vocals,followed by spacey synths and a more intense atmosphere and an even better continue till the very end with warm singing,fabuluos flutes and nice background keys.

This is not a total masterpiece,the overall style is neither personal nor ground-breaking,but ''Laura'' deserves much more attention and respect than it's actually gained through time,being an excellent example of late-period French theatrical prog.A strongly recommended album and a similar file next to other obscure French bands like OPALE, EMERAUDE, WURTEMBERG, ELOHIM, ADA LE FOL, GRIME and SYNOPSIS.

Report this review (#621764)
Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 | Review Permalink

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