Exposé Online banner

Versailles — Le Trésor de Valliesres
(Musea FGBG 4103.AR, 1994, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 1994-08-01:

Le Trésor de Valliesres Cover art It’s amazing how with opinions on bands, even one or two can sway you. This is French group Versailles' third album, and by the reports of their first album Le Cathédrale du Temps, I was warned to stay far away. This opinion also affected my decision to ignore their Don Giovanni, which was declared by some as a big step up. Their third album here has been quite a talking point in the scene now, and with all the good opinions on this one I'd figure I'd take a listen. I'm very glad I did as well, as this album is by far one of the best I have heard in its style in quite some time. First comparison is obvious in that these guys used to listen to a lot of Ange, which is evident by their contribution to the A Propos d'Ange compilation. Vocalist Guillaume de la Pillière sounds quite a bit like Christian Décamps at time, yet not quite as strong. In fact some of the narration reminds me heavily of the style on the Emile Jacotey album. Instrumentally, all are constantly improving musicians, most notably the keyboadist whose organ chops and synth leads are quite pleasing to the senses. At times the music is a tad sloppy in the rhythm department — not that they are bad players, the fact that they're taking these impressive steps up is more than enough to cover for it. The music is excellent with a good mix of digital and analog (the Mellotron is extremely effective here) keys, and is in a restrained powerful style comparable to Pink Floyd circa Meddle (parts of it are practically plagiaristic — check out the David Gilmour guitar lines a la “Echoes” in “Une Saint Barthélémy Dévote” ) or classic Pulsar ("Strands" or "Halloween"). The music is dynamic, melodic, well constructed with diverse use of sounds and textures. By the time you get to the incredible 20 minute "Une Saint Barthélémy Dévote" I'm sure any symphonic fan will be under its spell. This is great music, and a tribute to a band trying hard to improve in all ways. Excellent and highly recommended (except for the tacky cover).

by Peter Thelen, 1994-08-01:

This latest offering from the French four-piece Versailles takes the spirit of the classic French symphonics (Ange, Mona Lisa, etc.) and dresses it in a modern suit of heavy armor. Vocalist Guillaume de la Pilière links the present to the past, and although his voice is a bit more gravelly and uncontrolled than Christian Décamps (of Ange), it's still quite evident that there is a major influence here. Lyrics are all in French. Guillaume is also the guitarist and flautist, and on the longer tracks he and the rest of the band stretch out and show what they are made of, a powerful symphonic based rock with a very French feel, dramatic and emotional. They do an excellent job on these instrumental passages, and nobly attempt to do some very complex licks, yet at times I get the feeling they are in a little over their heads. At their instrumental best (eg. the twenty minute "Une Saint Barthélémy Dévote" or the thirteen minute "Dégénérescence obsessionelle") they can call in all the powers and deliver a powerful rock based opus with a complex edge and gripping solos. Shorter tracks like "Exquisite Betise,” "Avec Tous Mes Hommages" and "Viendra L'heure" call up the spirit of the past a bit more, due to their high degree of vocal content — yet the inclusion of both keeps the album from weighing down or becoming too lofty and poetic. An acoustic guitar instrumental "Jadis" flows nicely in the mix as well. One complaint is of the sound quality, of concern only when everyone is playing at once — but which is probably when a listener wants to hear the most. The clarity suffers a bit at some of these power points, yet still it's not as bad as the mix in Deus Ex Machina's Gladium Caeli. Overall, this is a winner, one I'm certain that most listeners would enjoy.

Filed under: New releases , Issue 4 , 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Versailles

More info

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Zao - Akhenaton – Zao should need no introduction for progressive fusion fans, as they were one of France's best groups of the 70s, releasing five albums, four of them essential listens. While Zao has reformed...  (1995) » Read more

Hidria Spacefolk - Balansia – Normally it would be problematic for a band to sound the same on their third album (not counting a remix project) as on their first, especially if the first is basically a self-released demo. But when...  (2005) » Read more

The Nels Cline Singers - The Giant Pin – Since these initial recording dates in 2003 guitarist Nels Cline has been propelled from obscure LA sound sculptor to the indie big time with Wilco. Sifting through these older trio performances...  (2007) » Read more

Vulgar Unicorn - Under the Umbrella – The trumpet, saxophone, and strings add a nice coloration to what is basically a guitar-oriented music, with plenty of riffs in the vein of Hawkwind and the like. Vocal themes are easy-going: this is...  (1995) » Read more

Strawbs - Halcyon Days – Perhaps Strawbs is one of the most widely misunderstood bands that ever confused and confounded fans for not conforming to preconceived (and often wildly inaccurate) expectations. When Yes fans heard...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues