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(44 min, M-Parallele)
TRACK LIST: 1. Tempete 5:33 2. Serenite 7:35 3. Reviens tu Vers Moi 3:49 4. Mirage 3:12 5. Un Instant de Pose 5:50 6. La Douce Chateur du Soleil 5:22 7. L'Infinie 5:04 8. Renaissance 3:33 9. Clair-obscur 3:49 LINEUP: David Thomas - lead vocals; guitars; clarinet Guillaume Thomas - guitars; vocals Marlene Bouchisse - flute; vocals Romain Silva - drums; vocals Julien Gerry - bass
Prolusion. SARCASME, from France, so far don't have a website. Apart from listing reference points, Ange and Deep Purple included, the press kit says the band was formed in 1996 and that their first official release, "Mirage", is Progressive Rock in a typically French fashion.
Analysis. Not counting the language that they sing in, French, Sarcasme appear to be adherents of English Rock music, the sound of their "Mirage" leaving the impression that the album was recorded in 1969 or 1970. However the fact that the group have managed to quite precisely reproduce the aura of the proto-progressive era is probably the only significant virtue of this recording. If I could omit the first half of the opening track, Tempest, which is slow mono-riff Doom Metal instantly evoking Black Sabbath (who never played so primitively though), I would say Sarcasme have only two, yet really all-absorbing passions in music, namely Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull. The consequent events on Tempest are just what Un Instant de Pose represents in its entirety and include the mellow vocal theme strictly in the vein of Pink Floyd, which is followed by the groovy, straightforward instrumental movement where only bassist Julien Gerry plays with originality and resourcefulness alike. The guitar and flute solos are for the most part just moulded upon those by David Gilmour and Ian Anderson, respectively, which is quite typical of all the other tracks too. Even the effects that David Thomas elicits from his guitar pedals are just exact imitations of those created by his justly famed namesake. The vocals arouse no associations, but they are so expressionless that I can't bring myself to say they're original. Unlike that of Tempest, the content of the longest cut, Serenity, fully justifies its title. This is lazy, very eventless music abundant in reiterations, and while the sound is unmistakably Pink Floyd (think "More" or the simplest songs from "Atom Heart Mother"), I don't remember any track from the Space Rock pioneers' repertoire that would be overextended - at least as shamelessly as this one. La Douce Chateur du Soleil, L'Infinie and Renaissance, all draw a picture which is equally applicable to all of them, as also to the previously described Serenity, and since these three are neighboring tracks, they remind me of musical triplets - no matter that the latter is an instrumental. The numbers predominantly influenced by Jethro Tull (at their heaviest), Reviens tu Vers Moi, the title track and Clair-obscur, are more interesting. Although relatively short, each of these reveals enough theme and tempo changes to be considered a work of progressive Hard Rock. Well, what is probably of no small importance in this particular case is that the latter two don't contain any vocals or vocalizations either, and the former is largely instrumental.
Conclusion. There is nothing sarcastic in the music of this outfit, but the recording itself is titled aptly, as the mirages of the past are all around here indeed. Taking into account its highly derivative nature, "Mirage" can be rated as an okayish album at best. In all, probably only those suffering from a strong nostalgia for a vintage-like sound (no keyboards here) could relish this strange dish.
VM: February 4, 2007
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