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Émeraude - Geoffroy CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.12 | 37 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!!

Built on the ruins of a previous project, Temple Ghost, the main core stayed together and formed Eméraude (emerald, the stone), by adding JPA's wife (and GB's sister) on keyboards into the fold with yet another guitarist Gilles Escoffier. Their sole album was privately-released in the early 80's, but let not this deter you the least, it sounds anything but 80's and sported a medieval artwork. With three guitarist (one doubling on bass) at hand, Geoffroy is a surprisingly even and acoustic album in terms of progressive folk, medieval-sounding folk, but not as complex as Ripaille or as legitimate as Malicorne or Tarentule. But these guys definitely heard a lot Floyd music and it certainly sounds like it, although the usual remark of space-folk might be a bit stretched. Other touchesof Novalis or Hoelderlin (mostly the latter) give a certain symphonic twist, but overall this remains a pure folk album.

Starting the album on the delightfully light Boule De Plume that features a kid's poetry/monologue over a steady almost martial beat, sometimes a bit cheesy, but with plenty of drama. Immediately followed by a short instrumental guitary piece called Pluie (rain) where indeed the guitar arpeggios could sound like rhythmic rain. Closing the A-side is the lengthy Viking (sung out correctly in English, but no more) that starts a capella, before getting invaded by Simone's piano and JP's synths, the track getting regular shifts overhauling its structure regularly. Glimour-esque guitars, Waters-like bass lines, Walhalla wind noises abound in a track

The flipside opens on the mega-title track picks up a bit where Viking left and starts on solemn guitar strums over an almost poetry-read vocals (this part can draw chills in the spine), before Floyd-ian synths take the track slowly on electric grounds where a Glimour-esque solo awaits us in all its glory. Returning to a more acoustic mood, the track sinks into a very intimate mood before starting one more run of the start of the track. The closing Duo is a short piece of guitar that bookends the two long tracks and find its alter ego in Pluie.

Clearly a labour of love, written, rehearsed after hours, recorded with life-savings, Geoffroy was partly intended as a memoir for their kids, but the group toured with different line-ups until mid-86. Precisely because of its amateur side, Eméraude's sole album holds something true, something where the magic operates; making a small gem of the early 80's where France was one of the last bastions to still have groups crazy enough to release such un-trendy musical concepts. One of the year's best album and even in its prog folk genre, of the decade as well.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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