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Minimum Vital - Atlas CD (album) cover

ATLAS

Minimum Vital

 

Eclectic Prog

3.47 | 32 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a conundrum. That the musicians are super talented is without dispute, in particular the Payssan brothers (Thierry on Keys and Jean-Luc on guitars), the artwork is singularly brilliant, their past discography contains some truly progressive experiments (the overtly medieval "Sarabandes" and the language expansion of "Esprit d'Amor") yet there is something missing with "Atlas". Perhaps the continuation of the onomatopoeic vocal formula is to blame. Where Magma's usage of the artificial yet totally "alive" Kobaian language never really became boring , Minimum Vital's version of "Tu,To,Tu,To, De" is essentially a distraction, especially when the camembert start flowing into the grooves , as with the following" Tip dop, Tip dop, S'ti bi di bi dop". It can be interesting as a one shot project but there seems to be a mood missing here. Kind of strange, as the Payssan brothers has released the rather tasty "Vital Duo" with high critical praise. In a nutshell, the music is too upbeat to be credible when the lyrics/singing remain firmly in the land of the infantile ("Louez Son Nom"), whether you spice it up with some forceful arrangements or not. Even with the respectable "Voyage I", the track is ruined with a grating English vocal laced with a heavy Gallic accent that just makes the meaningless vocalizing even more out of place. On "Deux Amis" the male/female vocalists decide to sing in their native French and lo and behold, this turns out to be a positive moment, heavily influenced by the pro-Celtic musings of a Malicorne or Alan Stivell. But half way through, they revert to the kindergarten phrasings! The purely instrumental "La Ribote" only lasts for a mere 3 and one half minutes with some splendid synth and guitar playing, very reminiscent of the "Sarabandes" era, the only highlight here, with the upcoming title track, I am afraid. The track "Atlas" has some pace with some motivated synthesized flute ramblings, ripping guitars and bubbly synth solos and thankfully, only a very scant amount of mouthings. The finale "Icarus" is the same story, full of potential. This is their first dud, too bad. Again, I like the music but the concept should be vitally kept to a minimum, in fact they should move into a darker mode with better vocalists and the magic will return, in the meantime, this is not a winner. Barely 3 craters.
tszirmay | 3/5 |

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