It’s is always a pleasure to be sent an album by one of my favourite bands, so when I heard that Nemo were releasing a double CD I knew that I was going to be in for a treat, and I wasn’t wrong. These guys always put a lot of effort into how their release looks, and here we have a double digi-pak with a booklet, and great artwork. Interestingly, the painter is depicting a tree in full leaf in a field, but if one looks at the rear of the pack one can see that in fact the tree is dying, surrounded by empty oil drums and rubbish, while the ghost of a wolf and a person can be seen, as well as a goat and ravens. What does it all mean? One of the joys of Nemo for me is that I don’t speak French, so the lyrics and melodies thereof become just another instrument and I listen to the album as a whole, instead of concentrating on the words.
Yet again, the guys have produced what I have now come to expect of them, namely a structured, layered, complex progressive rock which contains numerous elements and influences yet somehow is constructed in such a manner that is immediate and inviting. There are times when the mellotrons almost overpower the sound, then others when they are much more into a heavy prog area, with wonderfully emotive vocals throughout. There is power, there is passion, and if you ever want to hear a prog band put the hammer down then listen to “Un Pied Dans la Tombe” where they somehow keep the guitars in check just enough.
The music ebbs and flows, taking the listener on a musical journey, always with a clear direction and intent. Is that a hint of Muse I hear there, or Porcupine Tree here? Nemo have brought together many influences, as always, and created something that is all-encompassing and while highly structured always manages to contain a sense of freedom. I have heard that long-time bassist Lionel B. Guichard has just left the band, so it will be interesting to see how Nemo replace him as this quartet have yet again combined to bring some wonderful music to the world.