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Spheroe - Primadonna CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.51 | 15 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Second (and last) album from this later-70's JR/F French quartet (the standard prog line-up as RTF); well within the artistic continuation of their self-titled debut album, even if the pieces on Primadonna are a little more elaborated. Ten tracks ranging from 1.5 to 8 minutes of instrumental fusion, mostly penned by keyboardist Gerard Maimone and drummer "Cactus" Garel make this Swiss-recorded (in July 78) album a fairly-usual artefact of those days in French prog scene, graced with back-alley artwork. Musically, this album is nothing to write home about, despite the group's relatively virtuoso capacities and apt songwriting, but there is nothing to differentiate it from dozens of other groups of the times. Obviously taking their blueprint from an RTF inspiration, their music sounds like a cross of Brand X and RTF, with a very funky bass, courtesy of African-origined Ribo Bayonne. Unlike a lot of French group, Spheroe doesn't seem to have been affected by the cumbersome presence of Magma in the French skies and concert circuit, as they don't sound Zeuhl at all. In the jazzy side of the French rock realm, Spheroe were not alone outside the Kobaian gravitation zone, but they don't sound like the Moerlen-lead Gong, but a bit more in the Transit Express mould, but if Primadonna doesn't lack energy, I wish I could say the same about enthusiasm and inspiration. This has a bit of a going-thru-the-motion feel, just content of doing what it does (well), but not searching for its identity. Don't get me wrong here, this is a fine album that consolidates the genre, but it breaks no ground at all.

The Musea re-issue (now in a Mini-Lp format, made by MALS in Russia) is an interesting but not essential addition to the JR/F-inclined proghead, but as mentioned above, the movement was slowly coming to an end, and Spheroe were not the most original group of the French scene.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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