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Memoriance - Et Après CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.87 | 48 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars A superb group like Ange is usually the first band many people instantly recall when offering examples of great French prog-rock acts, but it's a complete tragedy that the little known Memoriance aren't spoken of in the same manner. Active throughout the Seventies and delivering two albums in the second half of the decade, their 1976 debut `Et Après...' is an exceptional symphonic work, one that reminds of everything from the luscious tones of Camel (by unique way of Jean-Pierre Boulais and Didier Guillaumat's twin lead guitars), and the spacy sound of early Pink Floyd but with occasional little quirky and demented bursts added in to keep you on your toes! Surprisingly for a symphonic album, Jean-François Périer's keyboards are used very minimally, only employed to lightly coat the background and never really breaking into soloing even once on the disc.

Opener `Je Ne San Plus' instantly launches on Didier Busson's rattling drums, Michel Aze's grumbling thick bass and purring ethereal synth wisps, with much of the earlier stretches of the piece based around a similar reflective piano prettiness to Italian band Apoteosi's charming self- titled 1975 album. Guitarist Didier's plaintive lead vocal that enters is lifted by silken group vocals and carried forward by powerful Pink Floyd, Eloy and Finch-like guitar driven instrumental grooving bursts, sighing female harmonies adding a touch of class and a spirited breakneck Camel-esque race nearer the climax. The dreamy `La Grange Memoriance' is a pure symphonic masterwork, a mix of shimmering gentle synths and lengthy mellow slow-burn Gilmour-flavoured bluesy guitar musings alongside grand regal keyboard themes. Several of the players offer short and humble vocal passages with great weary dignity, and there's an enviable soothing flow to the piece that shows the restraint, skill and intelligence of the band to wondrous effect.

The early Floydian spacey guitar tendrils and eerie synths of side two's title-track `Et Après...' are similar to fellow French band Pulsar, and plenty of stately symphonic themes, some manic dirty spurts and creeping spoken-word passages bring plenty of theatrical touches. Shorter closer `Tracsir' has a chiming Gentle Giant-like madrigal playfulness to its ringing twin lead-guitar chiming, and a maniacal sprint in the final moments will call to mind the early Fruupp albums like `Future Legends' and `Seven Secrets' for some listeners.

While their follow up `L'Écume des Jours d'Apres Boris Vian' three years later would still hold much of interest, it's Memoriance's debut `Et Après...' that truly deserves to be spoken of in the same manner as Pentacle's glorious `La Clef des Songes', Alpha Ralpa's eclectic self-titled 1977 LP and Arachnoid's Mellotron-laden freakfest from 1979, as another of those lost symphonic French gems that are desperately in need of rediscovery and new-found appreciation!

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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