Ange - La voiture à eau - 1999


It seems as if the end of the century gave us back the classic groups that delighted most progressive listeners during the wonderful 70’s. This is the case of the sadly forgotten Ange. The most important French progressive rock band, which released masterpieces such as "Le Cimetière des Arlequins", "Au-Delà du Délire" or "Par les Fils de Mandrin", combining drama and theater in a way similar to Genesis classic albums, and that I recommend without any doubts. Time runs quickly, also for Christian Dècamps, leader of Ange, who has nevertheless been able to adapt to the new times by adding new sounds and shades to the group music without losing at all its old spirit. For this work Christian (voices, keyboards) has had the help of young players such as Thierry Sidhoum (bass), Tristan Dècamps -his son?- (keyboards, effects, choirs), Hervé Rouyer (drums), and Hassan Hajdi (guitars), and has released a work whose main defect may be its excessive length. The album comes close to 75 minutes, and there is time for marvelous, good and mediocre moments. As a fact, the CD consists of 17 pieces that run from 1:46 to 6:20 minutes.


What surprised me most in the beginning is the production of the album, which leaves lot of space to the drums, so the sound comes compact and powerful. Just listening to the initial bars of the first song "Le Rêve est à Rêver (2º service)" (5:55) one already realizes that, as well as the abundance of effects theoretically far from progressive patterns but that are an excellent support to the amazing voice of Dècamps. He sings like in his best past times. The contribution of the young musicians is patent, mainly with Hadji, a very versatile guitarist, who is able to introduce melodic elements in dramatic moments or to surprise with heavy riffs in soft moments. Also surprising –maybe coming from his roots- are the numerous ethnic moments in pieces such as "Bilboquet" (4:02), a delicious song by the way. Similarly, Sidhoum’s bass playing is very ethnic and colorful. As everything in Ange, extremely original, but without leaving aside the characteristic sound of the band.

The songs closer to the best known Ange are "Psychosomagique Gènie" (6:20), the beautiful and lyrical "Elle fait mes Rides" (3:33), the hymnal "Quelquefois" (4:30), the heavy and impressive "Ethnies" (5:12), the short dramatic "Patisonges et Mentisseries" (1:46), or the decadent "Le Voiture a Eau" (3:55). These songs are uniformly excellent, but we also find good examples of fragments close to the Ange style thanks to the voice of Dècamps such as "Eurekâ" (2:24) and "Eurekâ in Extenso" (2:30), closer to more technological patterns and to Jean Michel Jarre; very good ballads without any interest such as "Mémories of Jacob Delafou" (5:14), "L´Eau qui Dort" (5:02); ambient songs as "Archiméde" (3:55).

The end of the CD delivers a small suite "Les Voleurs de Clés" that consists of three parts of a high musical level. The first of them, with Hindu influences, is the theatrical "Et Gandhi l´hindou dit tout doux" (3:44), the best of the album, with excellent effects, bass and electronic percussion. It is followed by "La Serrure ou la Clé" (4:17) that starts smoothly with a semi-recited part by Dècamps with the only company of a piano, that shifts into a heavy piece with great drama. "Garden Secret" (4:55) changes the style a bit, being a piece that combines intimate and ethnic moments and synthesizers.


I believe, to conclude, that this CD is superior to all those released by Ange in the 80´s ("Moteur!" and other horrors), and gives us back one of the most unjustly treated groups, given the international success of English-speaking bands. It confirms us the excellent musical health of Christian Dècamps, at the vocal level and on his ability to surround himself with good musicians for future works. Of course, I would recommend you vividly to acquire the rest of their work before getting this album. For those that already own their classic albums, this CD will not be harmful, since although there are weak moments, there are others that show the magic of Ange.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - March 2000 -   - N10 Records