Ange — A Propos De...
(Musea FGBG 4205.AR, 1982/1995, CD)
Ange — Caricatures
(Musea FGBG 2112, 1972/2009, CD)
Ange — Guet-Apens
(Musea FGBG 4202.AR, 1978/1995, CD)
Ange — Moteur!
(Musea FGBG 4204.AR, 1981/1995, CD)
Ange — Tome IV
(Musea FGBG 4200.AR, 1977/1995, CD)
Ange — Vu d'un Chien
(Musea FGBG 4203.AR, 1980/1995, CD)
Ange — La Gare des Troyes
(Musea FGBG 4206.AR, 1983/1995, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-11-01
These seven titles by the legendary Ange represent part of Musea's big score from absorbing the Baillemont label late last year. Although most of these have been released on CD before — not once, not twice, but three times on the Marianne, Melodie, and Baillemont labels, only the Baillemont editions of Caricatures and Tome VI have been generally available in the States.
Mike McLatchey covered Caricatures, Tome VI, and Guet-Apens in his artist profile of Ange in the Seventies in issue No.5, so I won't go into great length covering those three titles again, except to add that the live album Tome VI (double LP on 1CD) is probably as good an introduction as any to Ange's earlier work from the 70s, albeit presented in a different light than one would find on the studio albums of the same vintage. I recommend it highly as a starting point for those not familiar with the band.
The four titles from the 80s show the band attempting — and succeeding — in adapting to a changing musical climate, moving away from the high powered symphonic rock and theatrical stylings they embraced in the 70s into a more streamlined, hard-edged sound. Much like Genesis had to change and adapt in the post And Then There Were Three period. Commercial ? Definitely more so than before, but not to the point of selling out their respectability as a band (though they come close at a couple points on Moteur). Thus, fans who liked the 'old' Ange will still find Christian Décamps voice in fine form, the band tight as ever (although featuring several new members), but clearly moving in some new directions. There are still a few of the 'classic style' songs scattered about on the three Ange-composed albums ("Pour Un Rien" from Vu d'un Chien, "Rien n'est Trop Beau Pour Toi" from Moteur, and "Neuf Heures" from La Gare de Troyes are three that come to mind) but the main thrust is clearly away from the older sound.
A Propos De... is a special case, an album of Ange-ified standard French pop covers, and for this writer's taste at least, it's the least satisfying album of the bunch. I'm sure that a person who's spent their life immersed in French culture might see things differently, though. However, the eleven minute "Le Bal des Laze" at the end of the album is a powerful closer and gives the band a lot of room to stretch out instrumentally — and redeems this disc somewhat. All of the discs have extensive historical liner notes (no English translation, though, probably figuring that there would be little interest outside of France). Anyway, these are good rock/pop albums but the progressive purist should proceed with caution.
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