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Album Review

The case of a group coming of age: between L'Allée des Tilleuls and Aliquante, Edition Speciale found its own sound, its own identity, and managed to get rid of all the irritating aspects found on their debut LP and produce one of the best French albums of fusion progressive rock, making it a must-have item for the fan of complex, intelligent side of prog and a true classic of the French school. References to the Canterbury scene are in order — especially Caravan's mid-period and Hatfield and the North and National Health's first LPs — along with Sloche's Stadaconé. The balance has shifted in favor of instrumentals over vocal tracks, which also means that the quaintest melodies are gone and the focus is more on intricate melodic lines. Side one is an all-instrumental affair, side two features lyrics in French and English. The writing is very impressive and the playing among the most virtuosic in French rock history. "Vedra" and "So Deep Inside" have the light touch typical of the Canterbury scene: a light jazzy rhythm section and poppish melodies grounded by the dense arrangements and complex songwriting they attempt to hide. "A la Source du Rêve" rocks more resolutely, so does "Le Temps d'un Solo," a frantic showcase for guitarist Mimi Lorenzini, who by now had developed his own approach to the jazz-rock guitar. The album contains numerous highlights, but "La Fille du Ruisseau" still stands out. First, it features an irresistible groove, fast-paced and shifting. Second, it sports a catchy melody that has a nice Brian Auger feel. And third, it ends with some fantastic solo trades between Lorenzini and keyboardist Ann Ballester. The original album closer "Alone Completely Unknown" is not to be left out either, even though the English singing is less convincing (and the falsetto a bit unnerving). Originally released by RCA in 1977, Aliquante has been reissued by Musea in 2004 with two bonus tracks, demo versions of two songs that would appear on the group's next album Horizon Digital. Highly recommended. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Aliquante, Edition Spéciale
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