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Rousseau - Square the Circle CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.00 | 27 ratings

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2 stars To run a progressive band though mid-80's was really hard.Rousseau's members decided to abandon any live performances and focus on songwriting for the next years, as they all had daytime jobs and full dedication the the band's needs was hard to come.Limited promotion and exposure of their sound almost caused the dissolution of the band, when some interest in their older albums surfaced from countries like France and Japan.A fresh line-up appears in 1986, when they released independently their third album ''Square the circle''.Christoph Masbaum switched from guitars to bass in order to welcome new guitarist Uwe Schilling, while the main singer of the band was one Dieter Mueller.A few guests helped the band on cello and violin for this album, which was soon reissued by Musea Records.

Musically Rousseau never actually abandoned their progressive roots.Their style had this discreet Teutonic vibe from the late-70's and the deep sense of melody is always displayed on their soft, polished arrangements, led by smooth symphonic textues and relaxing themes.So, soundwise the band followed more or less the sound of the previous releases: Ultra-melodic guitar tunes, mellow keyboards lines in addition with some flute and strings, with CAMEL being again the main reference point.The real problem comes from the overall approach, which is tightly linked to the year of release: The keyboards are quite thin and synthetic, the music is extremely relaxing, avoiding the true risks of the progressive spirit, while there are even some New Age-drenched landscapes and unrelated underlines, such as Latin and funky touches.Of course not all pieces contain such flaws, practically the longer the piece is, the more progressive it gets.Do not expect though a rich sound, even if flutes are combined with keyboards and guitars, Rousseau always offered secure, melodic compositions in this album with limited vocals and extended, instrumental themes.Just some more energy would be more than welcome.''Avenue du printemps'' and Timeless'' seems like the top entries of the album, nice CAMEL-esque Prog from mid- to late-70's with delicate flute parts and a sensitive electric background.

I can't get over these weak keyboard tunes, especially if speaking for such a nice band like Rousseau.I guess all 70's/80's CAMEL fans will be rewarded, for the rest expect a decent, melodic prog listening with all the flaws of an 80's production...2.5 stars.

apps79 | 2/5 |


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