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Gens de la Lune - Alors Joue! CD (album) cover

ALORS JOUE!

Gens de la Lune

 

Symphonic Prog

3.45 | 19 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Eccentric and excessive prog with a French twist

Gens de la Lune have blasted onto the French prog scene following in the enormous footsteps of legends Ange, who are arguably the Eiffel Tower of French prog. Indeed Ange members have helped to make up the band's lineup so it is not surprising that the sound is decidedly similar. This followup to 2009's self titled debut is rich in prog textures and features some of the complex and organic music that have made the band key guest artists in prog festivals and celebrations, alongside the likes of Steve Hackett and The Watch. Francis Decamps on keyboards and vocals is as eccentric as ever and he is well supported by the talented vocalist Jean Phillipe Suzan. The vocal performances are in French and remind me of Ange obviously but also the style of Harmonium or Bacamarte. The powerful instrumental sections are the accomplished work of bassist Farid Boubrit and percussionist C├ędric Mells, with some heavy guitar riffs driven home by Damien Chopard. The sound may be mistaken for a French version of Genesis in the early Gabriel era, but the band remain true to their own style even if they are clearly influenced by early Genesis.

The songs range from extreme Genesis sound alikes to just plain weird. The time sigs are off the scale at times and it is always adventurous taking on a myriad of genres from Symphonic to Neo. Even the wild Francis Decamps represents Fish in his stage makeup. There is a dark element to the music focussing on ethereal atmospheres, spacey effects, and heavy staccato Hammond style organ blasts that are counter balanced with tranquil acoustics and sustained keyboard pads.

The raucous No Comment is a case in point, with no holds barred choppy time sigs that blend well with the moderate verses, that slow things down until the next instrumental break. Pianoforte has a very heavy guitar driven feel, with forceful vocals. I have no idea what the song is about but it sounds dark and aggressive.

The title track begins with a soundscape of Genesis sounding keyboard strokes and layered instrumentation. The track encapsulates the majestic bombastic style of the band. There are many time changes and surprises along the way, but from the outset this track typifies the exuberance and unbridled progressive angle of the band. Some of the riffs on this track are stunning, and it powers along with some soloing on bass and drums, joined later by 80s sounding keyboard tones and a killer guitar break.

The acoustics are prevalent on Hypocrite et Comedien, and there are some French style wind instruments that remind me of Paris. There is romance in the music and the well executed harmonies augment this atmosphere. The beauty in the vocal performance is a key feature on this track.

Le Meilleur de la Fin is terrific with excessive ELP style organ and rather heavy guitar riffs. It has a multi layered vocal harmony in the verses that is complex and uplifting. The song takes on detours in many directions and ends up somewhere on another melody, but it all hangs together by the enthusiasm of the band.

Overall this album is a delicious slice of symphonic prog with virtuoso performances all round. It is uncompromised in its French content but totally accessible to the prog connoisseur. I can recommend yet another band from France; despite the language barrier, the music is an enthralling adventure. The songs range from extreme Genesis sound alikes to just plain weird. The time sigs are off the scale at times and it is always adventurous taking on a myriad of genres from Symphonic to Neo. Even the wild Francis Decamps represents Fish in his stage makeup. There is a dark element to the music focussing on ethereal atmospheres, spacey effects, and heavy staccato Hammond style organ blasts that are counter balanced with tranquil acoustics and sustained keyboard pads.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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