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JPL are back with their latest album, and while there are some guests on a few numbers this is for the most part Jean Pierre Louveton (guitars, bass, vocals, arrangements) along with his Nemo bandmate Jean Baptiste Itier (drums). Louveton has long been one of my favourite French progressive musicians, and I have always really enjoyed both his work as an integral part of Nemo and JPL (for some reason I have never heard much Wolfspring, really need to resolve that), and this is no exception. Unlike many progressive bands, here the guitar is often front and centre, and there is always loads of space within the music which allows plenty of room for Itier to also shine. All the lyrics are in French, as is the well-designed digipak and booklet, but unlike some I have no issue at all in listening to vocals where I have no comprehension of what is going on, as for me they become another instrument. The orchestral introduction to the album soon gives way to the progressive music of JPL, where he happily goes from crossover progressive into fusion, neo, symphonic and also bringing in styles outside the genre. But the important aspect here is the sense of balance throughout, as there is reason for everything, and we are taken on a journey which also makes musical logical sense. With the two main musicians having worked together for the best part of 20 years together they have a solid understanding of what needs to be done in the studio. The English news clip at the beginning of “Le Chaud et le Froid” has one musical style, yet when the songs starts in earnest we are treated to layered acoustic guitars, piano and vocal harmonies which lift it to a whole new level. Louveton continues to deliver albums which are packed full of classic songs, and one is taken to a world here it is only the music which exists and at the end one simply has to play it again. His understanding of dynamics and space are exemplary, and there is always the feeling of no need to rush and that is everything has been carefully considered with each layer having a part to play. He rarely allows himself the delight of really showing off his soloing skills, but he has them there in spades, and when the time is right, he lets loose to provide the dynamics and contrast required. Yet another outstanding album from JPL, both the band and the man himself.
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