02. La Grange Memoriance (10:59)
03. Et Après (10:23)
04. Tracsir (4:48)
- Jean-Pierre Boulais / lead & rhythm guitars & vocals
- Claude Letaillenter / technics (?)
- Jean-François Périer / keyboards, vocals
- Didier Guillaumat / vocals, lead guitars
- Didier Busson / drums, percussion
- Michel Aze / bass, vocals
While not too dissimilar from fellow French prog rock bands, Memoriance managed to create their sound niche, reminding me of Atoll and Mona Lisa mostly but also of Shylock and Arachnoid to some extent but only in a few segments. They are not as theatrical as Mona Lisa and Arachnoid, but do show this characteristic, particularly in the title track of this album. They show good musicianship, switch from what can be seen as more common rock parts to showing how intricately and elaborately their composing style can be. They have this slightly melancholic sound and at times dramatic (which coincides with the theatrical aspect) and know very well how to balance the rhythmic vs. the slow and gentle.
The starting song, Je Ne Sais Plus, is rich sounding and powerful; the music reaches out to me as I listen to this and grabs me as soon as it starts. The vocals (mostly sung but at times spoken, such as in other tracks) are soft yet powerful and effective; they fit very well with the music. There are also female backing vocals adding to the harmonies or giving a good support for the vocalist as he sings, a role also shared by the band members. The music is quite varied; from cool 70's classic rock parts (like the beginning of Je Ne Sais Plus) to more complex and elaborate parts where the band members show their talent, like in 3:33 minutes into the first song. Later on they venture to somewhat more fusion-like territories in places (though only subtly doing so). They know well how to craft interesting developments in the songs and keep the melody catchy and appealing.
With the second track, La Grange Memoriance, the dynamic start indicates a shift to a more jazz-rock style, though it then slows down all of a sudden to a slow rock pattern. This is an instrumental piece that goes on smoothly and gently until 6 minutes into it (though getting a bit upbeat as it progresses), at times reminding me of Shylock's first album as the lead guitar paints occasional solo streaks. The end of the track (from about 9 minutes in) is especially awesome as they speed up and in addition introduce a groovy rhythm in.
It is the title track, Et Apres, that shows their most theatrical aspect, their greatest diversity and progressiveness. In it they shift from slow to fast, from temperate to intricate and give a great instrumental first part of the song which visits a wide range of emotions and paces. To me this is the most exciting and interesting song on this album. In it you'll also hear the spoken part where the dramatization comes to a climax and resembles that of Mona Lisa in Avant Qu'il Ne Soit Trop Tard. Backing up the vocals are at first percussions and guitar playing oddly (by that I mean it's great) and then the backing vocals, synths and bass take over to back up the dramatis vocalization part. The guitar then takes on the leading role giving us a great solo that leads the whole affair into climatic levels, backed up by great drumming and bass playing and then the backing vocals.
The last track, Tracsir, starts with what is probably the catchiest rhythm and melody in here. The shortest track here, it also shows the band switching tempos and styles, though the rock aspect is the dominant one in here. There's great guitar playing that reminded me of early Wishbone Ash in a way. This is the most enjoyable track in here, the one that's great to shake your head to and tap your feet along.
At the time of writing this, this has yet to be reissued on cd and it's available as a cd-r through the Japanese pirate label Tachika. Hopefully it gets reissued as it is an excellent album that needs to see the light of day in a cd format and it would be great to have a booklet with some background about the musicians in the band. As with other bands from this country at this time, this is too a forgotten gem that should be listened by fans of the bands mentioned above and by any fan of prog-rock of the 70's.