Nemo is one of the most original “pure prog” bands in recent years. They, along with Beardfish, The Tangent, and a handful of others, are one of the few prog bands (and one of the few ROCK bands) I still listen to nowadays. They have managed to embrace the spirit of prog rock and retain their edge without succumbing to the awful post-modernism of modern prog. I am, of course, referring to the horrible self-awareness of prog, it’s tendency to obsess over itself. Nemo is certainly aware of its genre, but this notion is regarded with ambivalence more than anything else. Yes, for better or for worse, there was ample Dream Theater influence when they were starting out (for example), but Jean-Pierre Louveton has never played in the same soulless, blazingly fast style of Jean Petrucci, or sang with the same Robert Plantesque screeching androgyny as James LeBrie. He sings in thick, guttural French, so uncommonly heard in prog rock or even rock in general. It’s a refereshing change, to say the least, even if prog is not unfamiliar with other Indo-European languages such as the slightly more common Swedish and the much more common Italian (not to mention the ubiquitous English).
Nemo have gone quite far past their beginnings, which, as I said before, were rooted in a great deal of Dream Theater influence. They’ve progressed subtly from album to album, with the end result of R€volu$ion being much more symphonic, yet retaining a heaviness that Nemo has always managed to attain without being able to be labeled hard rock or metal. They can’t really be described as “symphonic prog” either. Instead they’re much more aptly labeled as “modern prog rock”, playing in the same incredibly complex, high-energy style as bands like The Tangent. This is R€volu$ion in a nutshell, but there are many other elements. There are dreamy flute sections, sweeping symphonic instrumental parts, and even some folksy bagpipes that lend the album a Celtic air at times. Perhaps the band is attempting to connect themselves to their Gallic cousins of ancient times, the Celtic inhabitants of France before Caesar committed his genocide and all but wiped them off of the European mainland.
I’m reaching quite a bit, especially since I don’t speak French, but there is certainly an air of defiance about the album. No doubt this is related to the album’s obvious subject, revolution. The different currency signs in the album’s name make the subject and its inspiration obvious: The Global Economic Crisis. The world is currently in a state of transition, and people across Europe, the Americas, and especially the Middle East are waking up to the problems of their governments. That an album by a French band with such a subject was released now is no coincidence – it is an embodiment of the zeitgeist of the new millennium.
Overall the music does not bring a more aggressive tone to Nemo’s ouvre. If anything the album is more pensive and symphonic than before. Grander, with more thought behind it. This is not a punk albim, calling for an anarchic proletarian revolution without any thought behind it. This is an album about the pain of our times, but with the beautiful inspiration of music to guide us and show us what could be possible if we changed our ways. I hope I’m right about that, I don’t understand the French lyrics, after all!
1. Liberté, Egalité, Insurrection ! (2:23)
2. Je suis un objet (5:43)
3. Révolu$ion (5:08)
4. Aux portes du paradis (2:21)
5. Seul dans la foule (9:36)
6. Chiens en laisse (5:35)
7. Loins des yeux (Barbares parties VIII a XII) (24:30)
8. Notes pour plus tard..(6:43)
* Guillaume Fontaine – keyboards, vocals
* Lionel B. Guichard – bass, vocals
* Jean Pierre Louveton – guitar, lead vocals
* Jean Babtiste Itier – drums, vocals