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Ange - Emile Jacotey CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 190 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars To top an album borderlining on perfection is always a difficult task, and Ange really had this problem when it came to surpassing Au-delà Du Délire. Let's cut to the chase: they failed in doing so - but at least they tried. The moment I picked this album up in the record store, I could feel something different. Starting with the cover, which seemed more produced, with a little more care put into it than on previous albums. Turning the case around, I immediately noticed another change: Ange had hit the 10 song mark - were they abdicating longer compositions in favour of more, smaller tracks? Would this have repercussions in their sound? I took the album home to find out.

So what do we have here? After the mystical medieval journey provided by Au-delà Du Délire, Ange deliver with Emile Jacotey a songbook filled with ups and downs, but never really a bad moment. Quick run-through: the album is opened by Bêle, Bêle Petite Chèvre, a fast-paced guitar-driven track, intertwined by calmer interludes. The famous Ange organ is only mildly heard in this track, which features the usual high-quality electric guitar work and Christian Decamps usual theatrical range. But it really is a pretty normal rocker, not the great start to the album one would expect. A spoken passage (Emile, we assume) makes the transition to what is probably the finest song on the album, the gentle and spacey ballad Sur La Trace des Fées. This one begins with the eerie keyboard we love so much and some calm yet emotional singing by Christian, that soon grows in intensity. Lovely keyboards (piano and organ) present on this one. Again the theatrical multi-character voice of Christian Decamps appears, this time to open Le Nain de Stanislas, a song that begins with the classical electric guitar/organ interplay, but in a rather childish tone. However, this seemingly childish and amusing track soon hardens its stance, turning into a powerful invective against "Monsieur Stanislas", conveyed both by the inflamed vocals and the quickening of the rhythm of the playing. The finale features some more of that delicious Ange interplay, with the electric guitar in good shape. Jour Après Jour follows, in the form of a delicate acoustic ballad, sprinkled here and there with organ. It's quite a soothing song, definitely not something to quicken your pulse. Some more narration makes the transition to Ode à Émile. The title displays pretty much the feeling of the song - it is a majestic and emotional track, again pretty much due to the fantastic singing. Now, the next four tracks should probably be seen as a single, long one, entitled Ego et Deus, which serves also as title to it's first section, track six. This first section sounds more like previous Ange works than anything else on this album, with the very strong presence of the organ in the building of the song. It is a strong track, with some calm interludes between the more aggressive parts. There really isn't any sequence into the second section, J'irai Dormir Plus Loin Que Ton Sommeil. This one is completely different from the previous (indeed, all four tracks of Ego et Deus are), resembling more a late night cabaret song, featuring (again) some great vocals and very interesting guitar work (the final chorus is one of the best moments in the album). The third section, Aurelia, is another small, peaceful ballad, a bit more vibrant than the previous. This loving piece includes a great keyboard solo while Christian Decamps vocals on this track are probably at their most "normal". Les Noces finalizes Ego et Deus, beginning with some classical Decamps narration over a background of eerie organ. It then speeds up, courtesy of the drums and the bass, but still with the sluggish organ atmosphere. Some cheerful playing by the electric piano and the guitar really provide a balance with the eeriness of the organ, turning it into a quite funky track. A piano interrupts this funky section, opening way to a cacophony of sounds, voices, laughter that lead the song to its end. By now, all the funkiness is turning from interesting to borderline annoying. Le Marchand des Planètes ends the album pretty much the way it began: with an unremarkable track. The only thing memorable about it is the feeling that it is out of place, being a terrible closer. Its not in any way poorly composed or played, but its just a bit bland compared to other parts of the album - by this time, we've heard it all, and this track just doesn't bring anything new. The spacey echoing guitar in the finale is a good moment, but not enough to save this track.

What more can I say about this? In the end, Emile Jacotey fails to be as much a rewarding listening experience as previous albums. The band tried too hard to top their first three records, and that resulted in an album whose composition sounds forced, unremarkable and ultimately unmemorable. I can't say there are bad songs here - at this point I don't believe Ange were capable of making a bad song. But most of them lack the brilliance, the excitement, the finesse of previous works. While there are no dull moments, there aren't also that many exciting ones (Sur La Trace des Fées is an excellent track, one of Ange's best, but it's calm nature doesn't provide any excitement). It's still Ange, and therefore something to be explored, but it is just not their best moment.

Kotro | 3/5 |


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