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Wednesday, 4 November 2015
JUKE - CHIMERAS' TALE (CD, D/L)
Although early 70s British Progressive Rock was a child of Psychedelia, it has never been embraced the same way as the enlightened 60s bands that originally paved the way for triple vinyl concept albums, double necked guitars and modular synthesizer rigs as big as a shed. We admit that a great deal of 70s Prog was truly awful (ELP, Gentle Giant, Camel and the later OTT Yes albums come readily to mind) but a lot of really good bands were deemed guilty by association and as an “art-form” it has been unfairly much maligned since its pre-punk heyday. Prog Rock never really went away and like it’s cousin Heavy Rock (another child of Psychedelia) it has happily existed away from the spotlight but with an ever expanding, loyal fanbase………and now it’s got a bit sexy (not sexy enough to lock up your daughters, some things never change) with new bands like Syd Arthur, GOASTT and Temples proudly showing off their Prog influences. Juke are a new French Psychédélique/Progressif band that are also heavily inspired by 70s Prog/Psych and influenced by bands like Tame Impala, Radiohead (Prog Rock in Indie clothing) but mainly post Syd Barrett Pink Floyd. Singing in English, Juke put their own spin on Psychedelia and Progressive Rock giving more of a European perspective to what is essentially a UK/USA genre in origin. Following their debut EP Atom Experiment, which included the Floydian 28 minute epic ‘Black Magic’, Juke have recently released their first full length record………. Chimeras' Tale is a loosely conceptual album which continues the exploration of an infinite universe first travelled on the EP, subtly mixing panoramic soundscapes, tight and urgent hypnotic rhythms and soaring, melodic guitar playing that together invoke the best of classic early 70s Prog/Psych.
If you are going to be deeply influenced by anybody then Pink Floyd is not a bad choice………we can’t think of any band from the late 60s that sounded anything like the Floyd. From the English whimsy and proto Space Rock of the Syd Barrett era to the gorgeous soundscapes of Wish You Were Here they were peerless (although they seemed to lose the plot somewhat when Rodger Waters appeared to wrestle control away from the rest of the band). With the combined talents of Kévin Toussaint (vocals and guitar), Lancelot Carré (drums & percussion), Quentin Rousseau (keyboards & fx), and Théo Ladouce (bass), Juke have taken inspiration from the period post Barratt where Pink Floyd were jamming live to TV pictures of the first moon landing, providing film soundtracks for cult European directors Michelangelo Antonioni and Barbet Schroeder, making innovative post-Psychedelic albums up to the zenith of Dark Side Of The Moon/Wish You Are Here and although hardcore Floyd fans will easily spot the musical reference points scattered around Chimeras' Tale this is a band clearly showing their influences but putting their own brand on the songs by adding their own unique twist to the music they love. Opening with ‘Schizarium Odyssey (part I)’ Juke show that they are not shy about creating epic, lengthy tracks that ebb and flow through both beautifully constructed, melodic Rock songs and improvised cosmic jams. Stopping the clock at just over 20 minutes ‘Neptuna’ is a fantastic track that begins with lush keyboard swirls and fluid guitar playing over a rock solid rhythm section before breaking down into an extended section of ambient Space Rock which builds into a mind-melting guitar wig-out……it’s an excellent slice of Psychedelic Rock akin to great cosmic jam bands like Electric Moon and is certainly one for the stoners. There is a change of pace for ‘On the Edge’ and with some excellent piano and organ work mixed with female backing vocals and some searing guitar it really sounds as if Juke have gone over to the dark side (of the moon). ‘Mister Mend’ is another lengthy track built around a hypnotic bass line and some otherworldly sounding bamboo flute……….Building to a climax that is part shamanistic ritual this is the most Psychedelic track here and no doubt the most atmospheric as the sound swirls between the speakers (certainly one to listen to on quality headphones with a well packed “jazz woodbine”). Following the bubbling soundscape of ‘?’ is ‘Sunset Smile’ a mainly acoustic track of such simplicity that has the vibe of a blissed out summer afternoon and shows Jukes ability to not only melt faces with scorching Psych/Prog but to also write tunes of sublime beauty. Chimeras' Tale closes with ‘Schizarium Odyssey (part II)’ where you can spot many of the bands influences with keyboard and guitar parts reminiscent of ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and a big finale from Dark Side Of The Moon linked together with a very 70s Jazz Fusion middle section……..it’s nothing stunningly original but it is beautifully executed. There is a lot to love on Chimeras' Tale not only for fans of Pink Floyd (although it helps if you are) and early 70s Prog Rock in general but also there is lots happening here that is very modern and aficionados of newer bands that have classic Psych roots will really dig this……….It’s a fantastic record and we think it is well worth checking out for both lovers of Classic Prog and current bands on today’s freakscene.
Chimeras' Tale is out now and is available to buy on CD or as a download (you get the extended version of ‘?’ with the download). Available from the Juke Bandcamp page here http://jukeband.bandcamp.com/album/chimeras-tale.