Cafeïne - Nouveaux Mondes

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Musea
Catalog Number: FGBG 4340.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 66:29:00

Cafeïne are a French progressive quartet whose sound owes a little bit to both Marillion and Genesis - different eras at different times. Some of keyboardist Christophe Houssin 's synth washes are similar to Mark Kelly 's in the early-to-mid 90s version of Marillion; a similar comment can be made regarding Patrick Jobard 's guitar work, substituting Steve Rothery of course. But don 't get to comfortable with those comparisons, because it isn 't as easily definable as that makes it sound, and it is only at points here and there. Why make them then? Because I was expecting some a little more symphonic, along the lines of their Italian contemporaries?and, of course, they are that as well. But having said so, rather than it being a mishmash of influences, it all holds together seamlessly.

Aside from the four musicians, which also includes bassist Jean Christophe Lamoureaux and drummer Régis Bravi, there are half a dozen guest vocalists and four guest musicians. Vocals: Christian Decamps of Ange on "Don Juan", Sonia Nédélec & Jean-Baptiste Ferracci of Minimum Vital on "Cathédrale", Cyril Grimaud of Hauteville on "Alexandre" and "My Only Quest" Julie Vander of Magma on "Atomik." and Pierre-Yves Theurillat of Galaad on "Voler En Éclat" and "Les Conquérants." Eric Kohénoff on flute, Christophe Boissière on cello, Charly Guillon on oboe, and Robert Bit on basson are the instrumentalists.

"Voler En Éclat" is an upbeat, catchy track with some vary nice vocal harmonies during the chorus. "Don Juan" has a very pop-jazz feel about it?something like The Rippington 's with a dash of King Crimson thrown in, by way of the percussive keys. The drama - as in dramatic - in DeCamp 's voice lends a different feel to this track?and I 'm sure no one 's ever made this comparison, but DeCamp sounds like what Damien Wilson or Michael Been (The Call) would sound like if either sang French. There 's enough punch to this, that it is almost like early Threshold, but not as punchy as all that.

"Atomik" has a metal-like energy, without the metal bombast or the chugging guitars. Instead the guitars are light and lyrical, melodic. Bassist Lamoureux gets a chance for the spotlight here, meaning this track isn 't all Jobard. Saying that Vander guests on vocals is accurate but misleading, as she doesn 't sing a word here at all. Guest vocalizations would be more accurate, as she becomes another instrument uttering "ahhs" in the background.

"Alexandre" is a playful tune with the sweet tones of Grimaud. He has a high voice, somewhat like Jon Anderson. Side by side, you wouldn 't say that, but there is a certain quality to his voice that sounds like a mellower Anderson. I wouldn 't say the music is particularly Yes-like, though perhaps just a little bit. There is a point, as the music swells, where I thought of Asia.

"My Only Quest" has a beautifully atmospheric keyboard intro that fades into a lyrical piano bridge that is subsumed by Grimaud on vocals and Jobard 's Rothery-esque guitar accompaniment. Piano doesn 't disappear entirely, neither do the keys. This a bit Yes-like, but mainly epically symphonic - big keyboard washes; slow, deliberate guitar lines, all climbing towards something. Only to fall off for a repeat of the vocals.

The last track, Cathédrale, in part sounds like AOR rock, where you wouldn 't be surprised if someone said it was early Journey, if a little more progressive sounding. Not that Ferracci sounds like Steve Perry, I must add. It 's isn 't an entirely smooth affair as there is a section early on, about three-and-a-half to four minutes in, that seems choppy. The section after this, from 4 minutes to 7 minutes (or so) is a bit like Enya, Clannad, and Renaissance all rolled together. Part of that is due to the beautifully voiced Nédélec. Guitars and drums come to for next, giving this a very rock like feel - like many of their compatriots.

All in all, Nouveaux Mondes is a very nice affair, a rich mix of rock and symphonic rock sure to please a variety of tastes.

Hubble (7:04) / L 'or Des Indes (8:45) / Voler En Éclat (8:09) / Les Conquérants (3:11) / Don Juan (8:17) / Atomik (5:52) / Alexandre (9:49) / My Only Quest (4:33) / Cathédrale (10:44)

Christophe Houssin - keyboards
Patrick Jobard - guitar
Jean Christophe Lamoureaux - bass
Régis Bravi - drums
Christian Decamps - vocals (5)
Sonia Nédélec - vocals (9)
Jean-Baptiste Ferracci - vocals (9)
Cyril Grimaud - vocals (7 - 8)
Pierre-Yves Theurillat - vocals (3 - 4)
Julie Vander - vocals
Eric Kohénoff - flute
Christophe Boissière - cello
Charly Guillon - oboe
Robert Bit - basson

K7 (demo) (1992)
La Citadelle (1994)
Nouveaux Mondes (2000)

plus appearances on these compilations: J 'aime Trop La Vie (1991)
La Compil ' 10éme Anniversaire (1994)
70 Minutes De Rock Progressif Fran?ais Pour 30 Balles (1994)
A Propos d 'Ange (1994)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin FR

Added: April 25th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1145
Language: english


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