AMN Reviews: Le Grand Sbam – Vaisseau Monde (2019; Dur et Doux)

If you have not heard the latest release from frenetic prog trio Poil yet, check that album-of-the-year candidate out. Then come back and hear about an expanded version of the group with another remarkable recording scheduled for release soon.

Notably, Poil’s Antoine Arnera, Boris Cassone, and Guilhem Meier, playing keyboards, bass, and drums respectively, team up with Mélissa Acchiardi on vibraphone and percussion, as well as vocalists Jessica Martin Maresco and Marie Nachury, for a five-track romp. Not unlike PoiL, the overall sound is reminiscent of quintessential French RIO group Etron Fou Leloublan with a touch of the Cardiacs. Jagged rhythms and crazed, almost delirious, singing are prevalent. Maresco and Nachury combine two-part voice, spoken-word, and chant with a sense of general weirdness. Arnera’s analog keyboard contributions add to the spaciousness of this effort as Le Grand Sbam alternates between all-out avant-rock complexities and more atmospheric passages, some of which sound improvised.  In particular, the pairing of Meier and Acchiardi adds a level of rhythmic sophistication that is both rare and welcome.

Vaisseau Monde is not to be confused with a live EP-length album of the same title recorded by the same group in 2014. The tracks on this studio effort are of different durations though largely the same content. In fact, if you like either of these two releases, you will almost certainly like the other.

Bottom line, Vaisseau Monde is well-played operatic chamber prog. Quite crazy, and very French. And I mean that in the best possible way. Undoubtedly, this will be another highly-ranked album in the upcoming best of 2019 list.

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