JPL - XXIV,
So, no prizes for guessing when Jean Pierre Louveton, aka JPL, released this album. He of course made his name with Nemo, surely one of the very finest progressive bands to come out of France, where he provided guitars and vocals, while here he is pretty much on his own, with just a few friends helping here and there. As would be expected, this is a complex album, with many layers, and with most of the vocals in French I found myself treating these as another instrument. This is progressive rock music that is based around complex and often quite heavy guitar, and that works just fine for me.
JPL can slow it down, such as on the introduction to “L'un Contre L'autre”, where he allows the guitar to sing and shine with vibrancy, or he can turn it up and provide a much heavier style of music, with multi-tracked guitars, and while it never quite moves into prog metal territory there is plenty of bite and attack. It is this contrast that makes this album such a delight to listen to. True, his vocals are emotional and fraught, and provides a fragility and humanity that works well with the more complex and structured music. There is a feeling that he is on the edge, and it is the music that keeps pulling him back from the abyss, from the darkness, although he does allow just some of it to feed into the album. He has a wonderful guitar sound, rich and warm with plenty of depth, no shallow or single attack for him, this is all about structuring complex music so that it is warm and all-encompassing. This is a superb album, that needs to be investigated by all those into good music.