Back in the seventies a certain band from France made music that had a link with Genesis music wise. Ange is the name of this fantastic progressive rock band that impressed me so much in those days. Albums such as Par Les Files De Mandrin, Guet-Apens and Emile Jacotey are real masterpieces which you can compare with albums such as Foxtrot, Selling England By The Pound or Nursery Crime. Lead singer Christian Decamps had the same kind of charisma as Peter Gabriel, he only sung in his own native language. His brother Francis Decamps played the keyboards and used a lot of mellotron sounds in the bandís compositions. But the band moved into another direction, just like Genesis, and sounded differently on their later releases.
Francis left the band after 25 years and I did not hear anything from him until recently. He formed a band of his own and named it Gens De La Lune and made an album with the same title. It gives me a lot of pleasure to tell you that the sound of the old Ange albums reminds me a lot of this first release. The mellotron samples are back in full glory and are used on most of the tracks. Boy, did I miss them on the recent Ange releases! The band also has a very strong singer. I have no problem at all that Jean Phillipe Suzan sings like Christian in his native tongue. This is just the language that this kind of music needs. It has all the drama, emotion and passion that suits the music perfectly. Progressive rock and the French chanson are for me a very enjoyable musical mix. The album opens with a very nice tune that has a great sing-a-long line. CíNo Peran has also great bagpipe sounds coming from the keyboards. It certainly gives the track the feeling as if you are in the highlands yourself. The second track LíCeil is the first piece that reminded me of the old Ange sound. It has a lot of pathos like in the old days and the mellotron samples dominate the song. However, the third song NegíBlanc starts as a piece of music which could have been taken from a new Ange album. Some third world rhythms are to blame. But no worries, the old Ange sound returns very fast and stays until the end. More strong pieces follow and the highlight is the sixth song Les Vents De La. On the entire album we hear the excellent guitarist Damien Chopard. On this track he manages to bring me in prog heaven with his brilliant solo. The high level of music stays after this piece and makes me realise that no weak tracks are on this fine debut album made by Gens De La Lune. So I can only say: welcome back Francis. You and your fellow musicians proved once again that fantastic progressive rock can be made in France. You certainly made it possible to relive the old days of Ange on this outstanding album. Bravo!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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