Lazuli – Saison 8
It was a hot summer afternoon in 2015 when I fell in love with Lazuli. I had never heard or seen anything of them, but when they celebrated their music on the Loreley stage at Night of the Prog I was sold on the spot. That festive spirit, total joy on the stage and the unique sound were like nothing I had heard before.
In their previous album, “Nos Âmes Saoules“, many reviewers saw the Leonetti brothers and their troupe on the peak, and indeed it seemed hard to top – but the five Frenchmen did it. “Saison 8“, their eighth album, builds up on the predecessor’s strengths and is even more diverse.
As always, the music is built around Dominique Leonetti‘s unique voice (and the powerful production makes it shine crystal clear and stand out even more) and the Léode, a kind of a one handed guitar designed and developed by Claude Leonetti, who has the left arm paralyzed after a motorbike accident. He gets the most freaky or beautiful sounds out of his special instrument.
The tone on “Saison 8” is more on the silent, thoughtful side, moving somewhere between artrock, world music, French chanson and a prog rock reminding us to the early Marillion. The songs are built up carefully, like the tense opener ‘J’attends un printemps’ or ‘Les côtes’, leaving space for the music to sink in. But Lazuli know when to raise the speed and get out the prog – impressively crafted with strange soundscapes at the last part of ‘Un linceul de brume’ and rocking heavily in the hymnic ‘Mes amis, mes frères’, which sure is going to be a great live song with its stomping rhythm and catchy chorus.
And while ‘Chronique canine’ breathes atmosphere all over, ‘Mes semblables’ is another one of those catchy but never too simple songs with that unique Lazuli feeling, with crying guitar/léode and great percussion. Romain Thorel, usually responsible for playing the keyboard, adds some of his trademark French horn sounds to ‘De deux choses lune’ – because, which rock band has a French horn on the stage!? – and it is blended masterfully with keyboard and léode at the end. The album fades out appropriately calm and thoughtful after 44 minutes with the beautiful ‘Les 4 mortes saisons’, which one last time makes Dominique Leonetti’s voice – and humming! – shine.
In the lyrics, which are entirely in French and therefore only partially accessible to this reviewer, Lazuli touch a variety of current topics. Leonetti sings against the abuse of nature, about fugitives – and dogs being set out at the highway on the way to the vacations. Don’t be scared off by the French lyrics, even if you don’t understand them: They are an integral part of Lazuli’s sound and atmosphere.
It looks like 2018 won’t stop spoiling us with great releases, and “Saison 8” is no exception. A wonderful, warm album, which leaves that fuzzy feeling in the tummy that only Lazuli can create. If you have the chance to catch them on their European tour that just started, don’t hesitate a minute – because it only gets better on stage.
- J’attends un printemps
- Un linceul de brume
- Mes amis, mes frères
- Les côtes
- Chronique canine
- Mes semblables
- De deux choses lune
- Les 4 mortes saisons
- 07.04. Reichenbach / Neuberinhaus
- 08.04. Hamburg / MARX
- 10.04. Zoetermeer / De Boerderji
- 12.04. Munich / Backstage
- 13.04. Ansbach / Ansbacher Kammerspiele
- 14.04. Alzey / Das Oberhaus
- 15.04. Karlsruhe / Substage Café
- 19.04. Verviers / Spirit of 66
- 20.04. Aschaffenburg / Colos Saal
- 21.04. Worpswede / Music Hall
- 22.04. Oberhausen / Zentrum Altenberg