Cafeïne - Nouveaux mondes - 2000

An authentic wonder. It is the only epithet that it comes to my head after enjoying the new delivery of these almost forgotten Cafeïne. And I’m sorry to begin with the end, but it’s that I can’t held the desire of praising a work that for me it’s the authentic essence of the progressive music and the clearest exhibition of the master formula of the genre. A work that has taken six years to be completed, that gathers and exposes much of what all the prog-heads expects when acquiring a work. It gives answers and ratifies the beautiful singularity and hardly understood life of prog-rock.


Let’s make some history because these French people are not a very fruitful band, but everything that they do seems to do it in a very meditated way, and taking the right time. The group is part of the third generation of French progressive groups. A generation that had seen flourish a good nosegay of good bands such us Versailles, DNA, Minimum Vital, Halloween, Gallaad, Naos. Bands that have drunk from the sources of the big and consecrated groups from the 70’s; Ange, Atoll, Mona Lisa, but of course, less Baroque but dynamic with modern airs, in accordance with the progressive of 80’s and 90’s. Making themselves a good place and reflecting a style that, in the case of France, it denotes a strong and incomparable personality.


Cafeïne was formed as group at the beginning of the nineties by Christophe Houssin (keyboards) and Patrick Jobard (guitar). Already from the beginning they were very well considered, providing excellent performances where apart from its own compositions, they made versions of the French progressive classics. The classical formation of the musicians provides them a splendid and effective base when executing their compositions and being accompanied by a good rhythmic section that were able to get the attention of the media. In 1994 and after several changes in the line up, their first record "La Citadelle" comes out to the market. A CD of brilliant and really meritorious moments, worthy of listening as a premiere album. Around that time Cafeïne also recorded the song "Ajourd'hui c'est the fête chez l'apprenti sorcier" that was part of the Ange’s tribute record titled "A propos d'Ange".

Right from here the band, apart from participating in festivals and tours with success, they have been assimilating and developing the idea of this new work that has concluded six years after their first CD. An album "Nouveaux Mondes", based on the idea of the big conquests and that has picked up for it the best of French progressive society. Christian DeCamps (Ange), Sonia Nedelec and Jean Baptiste Ferracci (Vital Minimum), Cyril Grymond (Hauteville), Pierre Yves Theurillat (Galaad), Julie Vander (Magma). On the rhythmic section we find the excellent Jean-Christophe Lamoureux (bass), Govern Bravi (percussion) and the singer, Philippe Ladousse, with a very similar voice to Dominique Le Guennec of Mona Lisa.


A record without fissures, almost perfect from the beginning to the end with big moments of epic intensity and dynamics. Some spectacular arrangements and a production that leaves you with your mouth open. "Hubble" is a powerful and grandiloquent overture where all the instruments, mainly the guitar and the keyboards, give the maximum thing. And connected with this last one we have "L'or des indes" excellent instrumental and coral combination.

And the thing is that progressive French music has always been characterized by the great drama of their torn and baroque compositions. There’s no doubt that Cafeïne is the legacy of all this. A band lover of their stylistic ancestors that transforms themselves into a vehicle to express with force and freshness the past ideas again.

Another clear example of this duality are the Mona Lisa and Versailles.

"Voler in éclats" and "Les conquérants" are round compositions, with variety of tones, tempos, colours... Pierre Yves Theurillat is an excellent voice with a magnificent personality.

It’s now the turn of Christian DeCamps that embroiders their performance in "Don Juan" where he leaves an unmistakable print. The performance of the musicians on this piece cannot be more bright. The jazzy touch that sometimes season their developments makes a total and complete progressive rock. "Atomik" gives us Julie Vander's voice making the voices as the composition is completely instrumental, but the coalition between keyboards and its voice makes us fall into a state of total ecstasy. "Alexandre" and "My only quest" show us again how well chosen the voices are for this album, because Cyril Grymond is the typically French voice with great personality. "Cathédrale" is the longest piece and the one that closes this master piece. The two singers of Minimum Vital adorn this final song, where one cannot request more. A song that moves and comforts in each second. It can satisfy any lover of the genre and leaves clear in each note of what they are able to do and they make the music something amusing and exciting.


As you can check this record has delighted me. There’s no doubt that Cafeïne has not invented anything new, but what they have made is to take the progressive orange and squeeze it until leaving it dried off. A cheerful music that progresses in a very dynamic way and that doesn't lose with it any of the classic ingredients. There is not doubt that with this "Nouveaux Mondes" they have reached the bull’s eye.

I am not very fond of giving the maximum punctuation to current works, as for me the five stars were given a long time ago. But for this one I can’t do anything but to make an exception.

author - date - rating - label

Jordi Costa - February 2001 -   - Musea