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ACANTHE

Crossover Prog • France


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Acanthe biography
ACANTHE was a French quartet hailing from the Grenoble area. During their short existence, concentrated in the years 1973-77, they had a lively concert activity, though - like many other bands active at the time - they did not release any of their material prior to disbanding. The band's original bassist, Christian Gendry, passed away at the end of the Eighties.

However, in recent times one of the band's former members, guitarist/keyboardist Frédéric Leoz, found some tapes recorded by ACANTHE during their brief career, and set down to the huge task of reconstructing at least a part of the band?s repertoire in order to make it available to the public. The result of this remarkable effort is an album titled "Someone Somewhere", released by Musea Records in 2009.

Raffaella Berry (Raff) - February 2010

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Someone SomewhereSomeone Somewhere
Musea 2009
Audio CD$17.32

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ACANTHE discography


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ACANTHE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 18 ratings
Someone Somewhere
2009

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ACANTHE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Someone Somewhere by ACANTHE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.00 | 18 ratings

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Someone Somewhere
Acanthe Crossover Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Composer/multi-instrumentalist Frédéric Leoz reached deep into the lost prog bag and after several years of restoration and remastering, gave us this smashing collection from one of France's most professional symph-rock bands. Not an album proper but a selection from Leoz's personal stash of Acanthe material spanning '73 thru '77, and the quality of both song and sound is remarkable. If these were demos, some record exec foolishly passed on a winner. But then it was the mid-1970s; you couldn't swing a comatose squirrel without hitting an arty progrock band. The gushy and mildly commercial title cut is fine but just an appetizer-- these four can sound surprisingly modern (or maybe modern prog can sound so retro). At eight minutes and with plenty of 'tron it goes over well, though I could do without the draggy Floydisms of 'Oriet de Cire'.

The pace starts to be set on 'Meg Merrilies', vaguely Oldfield, clearly awesome, Leoz's Fender Rhodes dingling quiet arpeggios under tasty & well-tempered guitarist Michel Gervestoni and utterly pro rhyth/sec of Gendry/Choirier. Somewhat extraneous 'Touch the Sun', nicely balanced 'Suspension', big symph number 'Univers Insense' gels beautifully into rich 'Oiseau de Feu', and TrueMyth-like 'The Old World Death' is followed by good closer 'Riding Earth'.

Very pleasing anglophonic French prog that somehow survived the ages and was rescued not once but twice, by founder Leoz and later Musea records.

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 Someone Somewhere by ACANTHE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.00 | 18 ratings

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Someone Somewhere
Acanthe Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Acanthe is one of those rare one-shot wonders we progfans always drool over, wondering what could have been had the musicians stayed together. This debut went absolutely nowhere in 1977, gathering dust in some French alpine chalet's drawer (they were from Grenoble) until Musea released it in 2009! Talk about hidden treasure, the amateurish (in a good sense) sound and the delivery are substantially stunning, though certainly not perfect. But it's precisely for these modest yearnings that this should strike a chord with fans of symphonic prog done 'a la francaise'. In fact, I will be also reviewing Skryvania (1978) and Angipatch (1981) in the next little while, two other mainly unfamiliar but intriguing French- prog discs.

From the title track opening salvo, "Someone Somewhere" the first impression is fixated on the combination of surly guitar and the sweeping mellotron strings , the sweet English vocals (though they also sing in French on later tunes) and a solid rhythmic foundation. Michel Gervasoni's blistering leads and Frédéric Leoz astute keys provide a rich tapestry of psychedelic stylings that were the hallmark of the times when rich time changes, rapid-fire contrasts and sizzling soloing ruled the roost. .

The blustery "Objet de Cire"(Wax Object) just keeps the rudder ahead, plowing through waxen poetic scenes of intensity and brooding instrumentation. Nostalgia, melancholia and reminiscence combine to create a specific mood that keeps the listener on edge, speeding up, slowing down at will. The axe solo is stellar stuff! This talent becomes quite apparent on "Meg Merrilies" (whatever that means) with its spectacular symphonics of the very highest order, complex weaving of various moods and tones, fueled by a superb e- piano and an accented English vocal (cute though) that inspires charm and admiration. When the organ swerves forward, the chunky guitar follows obediently suit, intent on the wildest adventure.

A high water mark, "Towards the Sun" incorporates slithering sitar swaths and a slippery lead guitar that hinges on Hillage-like tones, recalling the madhouse Gong who at the time lived in exile in France. The lead guitar solo is absurdly forceful, a fiery foray of blinding beauty that makes you look up in amazement. Pierre Choirier's drums combine nicely with Christian Gendry's voluble bass to provide a concrete foundation. A truly tremendous track.

"Suspension" is more straight ahead rock, a simple melody with jangling chords, hushed anglo vocals and bombastic explosions. The lead guitar repeats the theme explicitly, psychedelia in the air, soloing fruitfully with complete passion and determination. "Unknown" sort of follows behind, an English title with French lyrics, pretty cool mindset, completed with some zoning guitar leads (darn' it, the man is good!) that aspire and inspire. "Oiseau de Feu" (Firebird) is another symphonic apex, featuring some energetic rhythms, surly leads and intoxicating keys (synths and such?) and an extended vocal that wanders gently amid the churning chords and the serene beat. Gervasoni again unleashes a slick solo, diminutive, thunderous and to the point. The epic 8 minute + oddly titled "The Old World Death" (whatever that means!) further delivers on their unique concept, a mid tempo bluesy affair with bristling fret and key board interventions, deep contrasts and dreamy atmospherics that remain subtle and effective. "Riding Earth" (whatever that means!) spirals convincingly towards the finale of this interesting recording, twirling synths galore, booming bass intrusion and evocative e-piano with a strong early Genesis vibe that is plum exhilarating. A knee-shaking culmination to this marvel that is hard to describe. The joyful synthesizer solos say it all, especially when the intermittent axe drips like a fountain of exuberance, thus providing a duel of ecstatic proportions. . . The issue comes with a lovely artwork but very basic info, keeping the focus on the music within. It has that "je ne sais quoi" attraction that is so appealing which appears on such French momentary wonders such as Arachnoid, Pentacle, Shylock etc? Undoubtedly original and evocative of a special time (70s) and place (France) that embraced prog full heartedly. A huge discovery that means so much more to me as its totally ignored by even the prog public. Retribution and justice for this lovely find.

Easily 4.5 veiled jewels for its mystery, freshness and modesty. Bravo, Musea !

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 Someone Somewhere by ACANTHE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.00 | 18 ratings

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Someone Somewhere
Acanthe Crossover Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars When I wrote my review concerning- KINETIC ELEMENT - "Powered by Light " , I made a reference concerning that to do good music not always it is necessary a technique of highly refined instrumental execution and yes that the inspiration was much more important! This is, in my vision the case of the French band ACANTHE. Although their music don't present great virtuosity manifestations, they get to capture the attention of the audience, due to the beautiful melodies that develop starting from very simple musical passages!!! The influences are one of their fellow citizens, MEMORIANCE, and two Canadian bands (not for coincidence) MORSE CODE and OCTOBRE in some aspects. Something of ELOY and PINK FLOYD. My prominences are going to the tracks 1,4,7 and 9. My rate is 4 stars !!!

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