Lion Music LMC 317
Third Studio release from this French band.
Gustavo "Gus" Monsanto
Guitars, Saz, backing vocals
Bass, backing vocals
Keyboards, clarinet, backing vocals
With each successive release this band has consistantly raised the bar, which considering their last cd, Seven Deadly Songs was near perfect to my tastes. Between that cd and this, the band had gone through some changes personnel wise, in fact things seemed to be coming to a close as they had donned a new name and a new image as P.U.S.S. (Party Under Sexy Shirt). But for those who have followed the band thus far, I feel you are in for a real treat here with this new cd - Perspectives. The changes consist first and foremost with lead vocalist - Julien Vallespi being replaced with former Adagio lead singer Gus Monsanto, and keyboardist - Quentin Benayoun is replaced with Luca Mariotti, Also leaving the band is drummer - Mikael James, who is replaced with newcomer - Marco Talevi. I have to say with such a dramatic turnover in personnel, it is safe to say that the two remaining members - Laurent James and Julien Negro, were always the core of the bands overall sound.
This set of songs is quite addictive, the melodies that vocalist Monsanto provides to the music are quite majestic, harmonies and all, and musically the band continues to expand on their progrock meets progmetal vision, they are managing to create a balance of the two, with hints of fusion, symphonic, and more. The sound quality of the cd is excellent as well, it's the full package, I truely cannot tell if the musicians on this disc are any better or worse than those on Seven Deadly Songs. One this is for sure, I have a much easier time recognizing the lyrics as Gus Monsanto has an accent free delivery, not trying to offend Talevi as his voice is excellent, just a bit hard to understand.
I wanted to take my time with this cd, as is typically the case prior to reviewing, and this was the one cd I kept reaching for at home or in the car, or on walks with the mp3 player, it really grew on me like very few cds do. Even the slower moments have such a grandeur to them, one cannot help trying to reach the vocal heights that Gus Monsanto seems to hit with the greatest of ease. At times I am surprised to have the songs and their infectious melodies stuck in my head during my workday. To say the music is fixating is an understatement. And I have yet to mention the musicianship!? This band excells on every instrument, there is an abundance of nifty solos, yet the greater focus is the arrangements, sometimes heavy, very heavy, and sometimes gentle, very gentle, at times intense and complex, other times soothing and contemplative.
Not a band to be caught up in trying to clone other bands, they really have a sound all of their own, each song seems forged to have a lasting musical value. It's sad to me that music like this is not what the mainstream is asking for, but I am exceedingly happy to have an opportunity to be able to hear the hard work of dedicated musicians creating works of art like this. One of the tops of the year for me thus far!!