Maneige

Images

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In 1980-1981 Maneige went through difficult times, most of their core members fleeing what now appeared to be a sinking ship. Flutist Alain Bergeron and bassist Yves Léonard convinced drummer Gilles Schetagne (who had left after the live LP Composite in 1979) to come back and recruited guitarist Michel Lefrançois (of Raôul Duguay's band) and keyboardist Claude Lemay (ex-Pollen, now a session musician who would end up in the 1990s as musical director for Céline Dion). It took three years for Images to be released, and one wonders if it was worth the effort at all. The ten tracks are typical, generic jazz-rock pieces, aptly but distantly performed. They all clock in somewhere between two minutes and 42 seconds and three minutes and 43 seconds, for a meager 33 minutes of total music. The opener, "Nuit Rose," says how desperate the group was. Its synthesizer intro, main riff, and medium tempo are all tailored to Led Zeppelin's early-'80s hit "All of My Love" -- down to the keyboard patch. The three-voiced percussion work of the early days is now completely gone, and so are most of Alain Bergeron's gracious flute licks. Two pieces stand out: "Solitaire" (although it gets a bit cheesy in the end) and "Touarègue," refreshingly lively. Mainstream jazz-rock like this has hardly any redeeming factors. By desperately trying to follow the trend, Maneige lost their spirit.

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