Apart from being the founding and leading member of Nemo, Jean-Pierre Louveton also leads the more metal oriented Wolfspring. But those two bands don't seem to be enough to express all the energy he has, so Jean-Pierre is also very active with his solo albums, which are released under the moniker JPL. After the latest Nemo release; Coma (2015, see review) mastermind Jean Pierre Louveton, found time to pick up his solo aspirations again. On Le Livre Blanc, which is the successor of his 2014 album MMXIV (2014, see review) the occasional help comes from Nemo colleagues Jean Batiste Itier who plays drums on four tracks and Guillaume Fontaine, who plays piano on two tracks. Other musicians who contribute on the album are drummer Ludovic Moro, bass player Sebastien Delestienne and vocalists Steph Honde who has played guitar for Paul Di'Anno and Lazulli's Dominique Léonetti.
Musically Le Livre Blanc takes a step back from Nemo's progressive rock style, the songs are more contemporary and even the songs are very recognizable as JPL compositions there is a very accessible aspect to the tracks, which could convince others than progressive rock aficionados to listen to JPL's music. The opener Un Livre Ouvert due to the vocal parts, is one of those tracks that could suit a new audience, however towards the end of the track the blood of prog takes over and we are treated by a nice guitar and keyboard solo over progressive rock theme's. JPL's wonderful voice leads in the following L'Ermite, a song that combines fragile vocal parts with powerful guitar riffs, played over a smooth piano. This is a pure progressive rock song, where the contemporary listener of the previous song will raise a brow and hope for more moderate music, but this is a true progressive rock gem. Joker is a close to old school hard rock meets progressive rock song, the cool guitar riffs are combined with a soaring keyboard and the twin guitars take you back to the heydays of hard rock. I guess Stephane Honde's vocal contribution represents the rock aspect, where JP stands for the progressive rock element of the track. An unexpected track, but very nicely suited to the album. Just like on the previous album, Dominique Léonetti is presented as one of the guests. Trompe La Mort is the perfect combination of two impressive voices. Again, when I listen to the combination of both musicians I wonder what would be the result of an album which represents those two musicians. L'Etoile Du Nord is a very strong progressive rock track, where acoustic guitars take the lead in the softer parts and where the music slightly gains on power and JPL can excel in various guitar solos. Convoléances is one of the compositions that are solely played by JPL; programmed drums, that have the intention to sound like that, therefore they are quite OK. This track is nicely relaxed, only during the last part electronics and guitar form the dissonant. La Peste Et Le Choléra is a strong rock track with an amazing ending called L'Antidote. Here the rock track changes in a very nice jazz rock song with the highlight on Sebastien Delestienne bass. The longest composition on the album is Jehanne, which has the contemporary beginning again, but slowly progressiveness takes over with nice guitar solos; both electric as well as acoustic and a perfect layer of keyboards in the background. The final track is also the title track of the album; Le Livre Blanc. A fine instrumental that combines atmospheric parts with delicate soling of JPL.
I don't think JPL has ever let me down, when it comes to new music and Le Livre Blanc is no exception. His compositions are solid, adventurous and filled with his wonderful voice.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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