Was it because drummer Gérald Jelsch was replaced by the more muscular and adept Guénolé Biger? Or because artistic director Jean-Claude Poignant held the band firmly in his hand? Émile Jacotay takes an important departure from Le Cimetière des Arlequins and Au-Delà du Délire. Christian Decamps' theatrics are dimmed and the Mellotron is out -- two things that suddenly allow for better arrangements and better balance (previously the sound was drenched by the Mellotron). The band's writing keeps on growing, but on this album complexity takes precedence over melody. As a result, the songs are more forgettable. Highlights include the rock number "Bêle, Bêle Petite Chèvre" ("Bleat, Bleat Little Goat"), the theatrical "Le Nain de Stanislas" ("Stanislas' Midget"), and the beautiful ballad "Ode à Émile," a simple but heartfelt tribute to an 85-year-old man, a story-teller like Christian Decamps. The 18-minute suite "Ego et Deus" is not Ange's most memorable work; some parts ("Aurélia") work out nicely but the whole thing doesn't hold very tightly together -- a half-failed experiment. Émile Jacotay remains a transitional album.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture