What to do when your creativity forces you to be in a continuing process of creating new music? At first you release them with your band Nemo, but not every composition is suitable for your very successful band. Therefore, you release them as a solo project under your own name; JPL it is. JPL has released great albums and continues to do so, but still. Sometimes musical ideas are too interesting to just gather dust in a cupboard, or are way to fine to be left alone, stored away on the hard disc of an old computer. A number of years ago Jean Pierre Louveton; Nemo's lead vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter choose to not store the musical ideas that were too challenging to not release. Enter the release of the Retrospective albums. Here the musical ideas, that started many years ago, came to a finish many years later. Just like good wine, sometime it just takes time to mature to get the perfect taste.
Perspective III brings us a selection of compositions where sometimes the music was already written in the early nineties, but bonded with lyrics just in this very year. Or like the album's opener Un Doigt Sur La Gâchette, where the concept hails from the year 2000, but was finalized only last year. Does this mean the compositions on this Retrospective III album are dated or perhaps of a less high quality we are used of JPL on his solo albums? No, absolutely not, listen to the aforementioned track, JPL has put a lot of effort in the completing of this song, played all the instruments, except for the drum parts, which are courtesy of Nemo drummer Jean Baptiste Itier, and created a worthy, interesting composition. A track like Luvmoovs really belongs on one of the retrospective albums. This funky song, where Jean Pierre actually raps in English, would be a great loss if never was released, just for the amazing guitar parts alone. Luvmoons is a wink to the nineties I am sure. Some of the tracks are perhaps a little less progressive rock and head more towards solid rock as we are used to, but one of the highlights; Sur Les Pentes Glissantes De La Folie is an amazing very progressive rock composition, where Jean Pierre lets his guitar do the talking most of the time. Every time I listen to his playing I wonder why his main band Nemo still has not gotten the worldwide recognition they really deserve. As a musician and songwriter, JPL can measure himself with the finest in the progressive rock scene. Listen to the album's instrumental No Speed Limit and you will be convinced of his guitar playing, which is easily as interesting as the guitar slingers Joe Satriani or Steve Vai. Listen to both Absent and Comète, two magnificent tracks, melodic, dedicated, highlighting JPL's vocal parts, and fine melodic guitars. The final track Mes Heures Sombres should be an obligated listen for the progressive aficionado, this epic is the best way to finish an amazing album.
Personally, I think JPL did an amazing job, to finally bring his lost, but not forgotten creatures to life. The French vocals are part of the overall atmosphere of JPL's music, something I totally adore. They really make his music stand out towards the “regular” English sung progressive rock. Retrospective III is highly recommended for progressive fans, but also for those who can appreciate an amazing guitar solo or two.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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