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Versailles - Don Giovanni  CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.63 | 31 ratings

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4 stars French bands do not seem to interest a lot of people on this site. The language barrier ? Maybe. But it is a pity to be reluctant to listen to some bands just because of the language. Credit must be given to "Versailles". To start a band in the early nineties and producing this great symphonic prog is not the easy thing to do.

Very little exposure, some recognition of course (but almost only in France) the band will release four albums and then call it quit. Most of the members will re-form the legendary "Mona Lisa", but this is another story.

Most of the songs are rather extended (except two). This is typical symph prog form the seventies (but I think that some of us might like this period...). Omnipresent keyboards, very nice flute passages, melodies, and again melodies...

Lot of people compare the vocals to the ones of Christian Descamps; and it is true that in some songs he sounds almost like him. Like during "Subtiles Délicatesses". When you listen to it, you might think that it is just a nice little song; not important. If you understand the lyrics, it is one of the most outrageous and almost pornographic that I have ever heard (it reminds me when I was a student and we used to sing lots of these type of songs. Belgian student parties - guindailles - are quite famous for this).

I guess that this song has hardly make any radio appearence. Rather vulgar but so funny, so irreverent. Just great. But mostly for the lyrics. With "Drama", there won't be any language barrier since it is an instrumental. Fully symphonic and delicate. So, even the short breaks are much more than fillers.

"Mémoires D'Hécatombes" is harder. More guitar-oriented. But at the same time, it will feature an opera section which will add a lot of drama. A bizarre piece of music. Scary and different. The keys here even sound like the Manzarek ones (yes, from "The Doors").

All these good tracks... And I haven't told you anything from the epic of this album. "Don Giovanni". A great mix of "Versailles" skills : good vocals, nice flute, performant keyboards (almost classical, ELP-ish), not too complex music yet personal, indecent lyrics "La Femelle Ecartelée, de tous les côtés..." : "The quartered female, from all sides...". Lots of sexual connotations of course. This is the most intricate song of the whole. Crimsonesque at times.

Versailles'music is pleasant, complex enough but far from being a mental masturbation exercise. Of course, some musical passages will remind the early Genesis. But only remind. I really like "this "Don Giovanni". Four stars.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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