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Caf轱ne - Nouveaux Mondes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.54 | 36 ratings

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4 stars Another modern French beauty.

"Noveaux Mondes" is a very modern sounding prog rock album with both symphonic and fusion appetites. A concept album about the nature of discovery and the people who undertake it. The album features 7 guests vocalists on various tracks including Christian Decamps, Julie Vander, Pierre-Yves Theurillat and others but also features large instrumental sections to please everyone.

It opens with high drama in the form of a haunting soundscape before the band crashes in with "Hubble, an instrumental showcasing the deep talent in the line-up. They hit the ground running with plenty of speed and some nice hooks. Track 2 is "L'or Des Indes" which I felt started rather clumsy and plodding with vocals that seemed forced, but the track recovers in the middle with a calm break and some soft embellishment, and finally ends quite well. Sadly I have to say that again in "Voler en Eclat" and "Les Conquerants" the vocals just never seem to gel very well with the music, perhaps the result of using all guest vocalists. There are nice instrumental touches to all the songs but I find that in those two songs and occasionally elsewhere, the vocals just seem to put the brakes on the festivities rather than lifting the band to a better place. Just an observation. "Don Juan" however finds Ange's Christian Decamps in fine form all these years later and in this case the vocals do work for me. My favorite track might be "Atomik" with Julie Vander's beautiful mostly wordless vocals and some magnificent guitar/bass/key interplay. The guitar playing towards the end reminds me of Steve Howe on the Drama album, a high energy front-loaded sound. "Alexandre" is OK but under utilizes the 10 minutes they give it. "My Only Quest" is a nice change up with a mellow synth opening that flows into piano and soft guitar. The mood of the vocal is introspective and the album needs more moments of variation like this. Lovely song. "Cathedrale" ends the album with an epic feel overall with some flute and strings. This is a nice touch. The album could use at least a little more acoustic instrumentation to warm up the sound occasionally. This one builds well and is one of the better composed tracks. A wise choice for a closer.

As I mentioned the band has a polished modern sound that is hard hitting and yet dexterous as can be, reminding me a bit of Eclat in places and also Ohm. There are lots of modern synths but also great guitar leads and killer drumming. This is a rich and complex album that takes many spins to fully appreciate although I believe that this band can do better. I feel they should try to add more warmth and enlist a single full-time vocalist rather than guests. I think they could be capable of a masterpiece but I don't think this is it. Modest but decent lyric booklet included. 3.75 stars.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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