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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars A charming but totally forgotten little album, the self-titled debut LP by 70's French band Nemo is a pleasing mix of prog, funk, rock and jazz fusion. Founded by Francois Breant and ex-members of Ergo Sum and Cruciferous, the music is a little disjointed due to covering a wide range of styles, and although vocals are featured throughout, the album has several instrumentals and longer stretches where the individual band members get to really show their talent. Brief moments remind a little of Santana, while the upfront bass playing has an impressive Zeuhl-like tone.

Side A's album opener `Kick A Tin Can' is a perky and funky pop rocker with snappy playing and an upbeat but strong vocal. Great chorus, and the somewhat bent guitar work throughout gives it a slightly twisted sound. It's the least demanding piece on the album, but damned if it isn't immensely catchy, and you try not to smile at the infectious `Woo!' vocals in the finale! First instrumental `Obra Del Arroyo' has some wonderful grumbling Zeuhl-like bass in parts, commanding drumming and ragged fuzz-organ solos. The two part `Little Nemo/Jungle Jim' is one of the album highlights. Initially a drifting, dreamy and floating slow-tempo evocative piece with warm vocals and restrained percussion, it flows into a more forceful groove with glistening electric piano and tense guitar solos. There's some slightly cheesy lyrics in the second half, but not enough to let the track down. Tense instrumental `Call Me Friend Of Brian' has a typical heavy Santana guitar/percussion fusion sound, some more driving Zeuhl bass and aggressive dirty Hammond organ attacks.

Side B's `Straight Man' is a sleazy stomping funk popper with catchy melodies, effective group vocals and fat upfront bass. Sadly the album kind of bottoms out here for a while. The stop/start arrangement of near-comical `With Duane Again' has dreadful `super villain' lame vocals and is musically plodding and repetitive. The two minute `Attilah' is not much better, an attempt at a more humorous Santana styled poppy piece. Both of these tracks have organ/electric piano player Francois Breant on lead vocals, and he has an awful Randy Newman-like nasal quality. At least on this album he's a far better musician than a singer. The album is redeemed by 7 minute instrumental `Grandeur...', a showcase for the talent of the whole band, with each member getting standout moments. Mysterious keyboards in the ambient intro, then heavy builds with electric piano and driving percussion, forceful bass and distorted hazy organ, attacking drumming and wailing guitar solos finish the album in a hugely dramatic manner, just a shame about the abrupt fade- out.

`Nemo' is currently not available on CD, so perhaps listen to some online samples to see if you want to commence on a search for a vinyl copy! It's not an album I would go out of my way to purposefully track down, but if you happen to come across it at a decent price, by all means snap it up and enjoy it. I'm sure many prog/funk fans will find it a rewarding and worthy addition to their progressive music collection. Apparently the follow up album `Doin' Nuthin'' has an even bigger focus on instrumental pieces, so I'm on the lookout for that one myself.

An easy three and a half stars for this light and breezy but musically accomplished album!

It's heartbreaking to see this sweet little album have no other reviews or ratings - surely someone else must have heard it or have a copy?!

Report this review (#845059)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Short-lived French act, found in 1972 by François Bréant and Marc Perru, who have played together in Cruciferius and in the last line-up of Ergo Sum.The original line-up consisted also of bassist Pascal Arroyo, drummer Clement Bailly and percussionist/guitarist Emmanuel Lacordaire.They were named after the word Omen, when read reversed, and debuted in 1973 with a self-titled album on the obscure Agave label.

All of the members had a good background in the Jazz Rock field, so reasonably Nemo's sound was highlighted by a groovy and jazzy approach with quite a rockin' attitude.But this time they wanted to come up with a more inventive and ground-breaking approach, so their debut contains also heavy doses of Funk in some tracks, which sometimes sound attractive, but the general impression is that these elements hurt the album's coherence.This is really a weird combination of jazzy guitar solos, smooth electric piano, spacey keyboards and funky bass lines, featuring some good, loose interplays and also a good number of changing climates, but this mix of Funk and proggy Jazz Rock does not work extremely well to my ears, having often a strong commercial flavor.The rest of the album is standard Jazz Rock with decent performances, based on long guitar solos and a consistent rhythm section, featuring also the versatile performance of Breant on piano and keyboards.The longer cuts contain also a light psychedelic feeling, but lack true energy and passion.

A talented line-up playing original music, that unfortunately lacks true inventiveness and passion.Rather strictly recommended to Jazz Rock freaks...2.5 stars.

Report this review (#887020)
Posted Friday, January 4, 2013 | Review Permalink

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