Exposé Online banner

Cafeine — La Citadelle
(Référence B27 Tiret 6, 1994, CD)

by Alain Lachapelle, 1995-03-01:

La Citadelle Cover art

Cafeine is a new band from France offering a nuanced music based mainly on keyboards and guitar. Melodic, La Citadelle offers seven compositions, three of them being in the ten to fifteen minutes range. What makes this debut album a good one is the quality of the playing and the compostional integrity. There are vocals, sung in French, and when these are present, the band shifts in a more standard mode, offering a door through which people less familiar with progressive rock can explore. At times the vocals may remind a bit of the phrasing used by German singer Herbert Groenemeyer (on "April Theme" for instance). The numerous instrumental passages shows an expressive and subtle quality even veering into orchestral bits at times. To the core combo of keys, guitar, vox, bass, and drums are added along the way oboe, flute, sitar, tablas, charengo, and uillean pipes, adding color and texture. The first piece, the 11:25 minute "La Cour des miracles" ("The Court of Miracles") offers a mix of vocals sung over a more standard backdrop and long instrumental passages in which the guitar is prominent. The lyrical contents is of social nature, depicting a character living in an 'inner city' where kids have no future, where crime and prostitution is rampant. It starts off like a theatrical play, with a Renaissance-era theme played on the keyboards, then afterwards taken by the band, suggesting a past-to-present bridge underlining the ever-present human misery that any form of progress hasn't yet solved. But this is no dark or gloomy music. Rather, it's quite open and clear in its harmonies. Patrick Jobard's guitar work is mainly melodic, rendered with feeling. La Citadelle is a very nice group effort, a promising debut for this new, young French band.


by Peter Thelen, 1995-03-01:

I'd first heard of these guys a few months ago via their contribution to the A Propos d'Ange compilation, their song being one of the highlights of that disc. La Citadelle is the band's debut album, and it certainly lives up to all the expectations — four lengthy multi-part compositions rounded out by two shorter instrumental tracks, Cafeine have managed to create a uniquely French symphonic sound rooted in the great traditions of Ange, Atoll, and Mona Lisa, while remaining modern and true to the 90s. A five piece with dedicated vocalist, the band's main mover appears to be keyboardist Christoph Houssin, who had a hand in penning all of the album's tunes. Additional musicians add oboe, flute, sitar, and uillean pipes. Steering clear of the neo-progressive typicalities that seem to be haunting many of the new bands of the day, Cafeine's music delivers the goods with strength and purpose, and without too much of the pompous gratuitous nonsense that bands attempt to pass off as complexity. Yes, there are plenty of twists, turns, and changes, but everything contributes to the greater vision of the whole piece. Sure, there are a few rough edges, what debut album is perfect — but Cafeine is clearly one of France's most promising new bands.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 6 , 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Cafeine

More info

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mastermind - III - Tragic Symphony – Ever wonder what happened to progressive rock? Especially the rock part? Wonder no more. Mastermind has returned with a third album that is every bit as potent as one might expect after the heavy...  (1995) » Read more

Jester's Crown - Above the Storm – Forget about the jester, it's not neo-prog or any other sort of music one would normally associate jesters with. JC is a very promising four-piece from the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, playing what...  (1996) » Read more

The Big Wu - Tracking Buffalo Through the Bathtub – The Big Wu is a Midwest quintet who focuses on the amusing swing jazz groove vibes of Zappa or the Grateful Dead. This is the kind of group who can channel a happy vibe and break off into a heavy...  (2000) » Read more

Atlantide - Atlantide – Jean-Pierre Massiera had somewhat of a reputation for putting together one-shot bands that record and promptly die. Another one of his 'projects' was Visitors, which we reviewed back in #6....  (1996) » Read more

Norma Tanega & Mike Henderson - HybridVigor – Despite the presence of guitarist Mike Henderson, this disc sounds nothing like Djam Karet. Rather it is a pleasant if unspectacular acoustic excursion combining the talents of Henderson with master...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues