Exposé Online banner

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

by Peter Thelen, 1995-03-01:

La Citadelle Cover art

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.


by Alain Lachapelle, 1995-03-01:

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.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 6 , 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Cafeine

More info

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago 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

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Secret Oyster - Live in the USA 2007 – And that’s the way it was! This is the NEARfest Friday show from June 22, 2007, featuring three original members (saxophonist Karsten Vogel, drummer Ole Streenberg, and guitarist Claus Bøhling)...  (2009) » Read more

Legendary Pink Dots - Your Children Placate You from Premature Graves – 2006 marks the 25th year of this band's existence, and this CD marks some ridiculous number of releases I won’t even speculate about. This venture finds them in a fairly calm mood, and is...  (2007) » Read more

Geordie Haley’s Every Time Band - The Green Suite and Other Stories – Formerly of Fredericton’s tiny music scene, jazz guitarist Geordie Haley now takes up residence in Toronto with the Every Time Band. The line-up is rounded out with vocals, drums, bass, sax, and...  (2006) » Read more

The Nels Cline Singers - The Giant Pin – Since these initial recording dates in 2003 guitarist Nels Cline has been propelled from obscure LA sound sculptor to the indie big time with Wilco. Sifting through these older trio performances...  (2007) » Read more

Die Anarchistische Abendunterhaltung! - Die Anarchistische Abendunterhaltung! – Much activity has been transpiring in Belgium as of late. First there was Univers Zero, Julverne and Present. There followed a whole slew of groups in the chamber/neo-classical/jazz-rock vein...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues