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Nemo - Les nouveaux mondes CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.70 | 86 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars "Finding NEMO" may be many's favorite animated film about a cute little clownfish in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia but not so easy when looking for a particular band with this rather common moniker. For example there was a Belgian band named NEMO, an Italian one, one from the UK, two from the US, one from Finland and two bands from France that are both classified as electric progressive rock. Hard to find in a search indeed but this NEMO is the second one from France and the one that has emerged in the 21st century with a strong modern take on progressive rock with a stream of innovative albums. This NEMO emerged from the Auvergne region of France in Ceyssac.

This NEMO which seems to have outlasted all the others is the one that has attempted to ride the perpetual waves of the very Captain NEMO of the 19th century novels "Twenty Thousand Legions Under The Sea" and "Mysterious Island." The band was formed in 1999 by Pascal Bertrand (drums and percussion), Jean-Pierre Louveton (guitar and vocals) and Guillaume Fontaine (keyboards), the latter of the two having remained the only members to be involved with every album up to the present. The original lineup on this debut album LES NOUVEUX MONDES (The New Worlds) also included bassist Benoît Gaignon who replaced the original bassist Hervé Esquis.

Right from the start NEMO created a lush and dense tapestry of progressive rock styles and melded them into a rich and complex mishmash of elements that would take heavily fortified compositions and infuse them with a ceaseless parade of dynamics, tempo changes, mood enhancing atmospheres and time signatures run amok. Eschewing the policy of English only as was the norm of classic prog (save the Italian scene), NEMO, while primarily focusing on lengthy instrumental runs also includes lyrics delivered in their native French. The main focus of the instrumentation revolves around the strong and creative guitar chops of Louveton in conjunct with the deliberate and fanciful keyboard antics of Fontaine.

The music is extraordinarily dense and characterized by a plethora of melodic developments that meander and morph unexpectedly as time signatures punctate the flow, tempos gestate from calm bucolic verses to more aggressive rock. The tracks are lengthy with the four part suite "Philéas" ending the album with a 20 minute epic prog journey. The band takes influences from all across the prog spectrum with Genesis-like symphonic prog, heavy prog influences from The Mars Volta and Dream Theater, modern symphonic leanings from Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings as well as the virtuosic grace of bands like Anglagard and atmospheric sophistication in the vein of Porcupine Tree. NEMO nailed this eclectic mix from the getgo and although they have produced better albums than LES NOUVEUX MONDES, this debut is nothing less than an excellent slice of sophisticated prog yumminess.

In many ways, NEMO was even more diverse on this debut than on the later albums. While some may claim this to be unfocused, others like myself deem it as exciting. While i have nothing against more focused albums that aren't as scattered, i find all the elements on board here that defy predictability to be quite refreshing and stimulating even. For my money i actually prefer albums that have all the proper prog boxes checked and then add layers of mysterious deviations and LES NOUVEAUX MONDES delivers the best aspects of both the predictable as well as that which is not. For my money, this debut is as good as any of the albums that follow and not one to be missed by any NEMO aficionado who has come to this band late in their game.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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