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Minimum Vital - Atlas

Minimum Vital -AtlasWhen this album arrived from Musea I experienced a moment of déjà vu, which is sort of appropriate language-wise as Minimum Vital is one of the most famous bands in the French progressive movement.  I was sure I had reviewed one of their albums but a double check of my CD collection drew a blank.  My thoughts then turned to Vital Duo, an outfit consisting of a couple of members of Minimum Vital I believe, but again nothing.  I can only assume I must have read about them somewhere or perhaps seen a credit to their music in the closing titles of a film or television programme.

Whatever the reasons for my déjà vu, Minimum Vital is one band I should have discovered long before now.

The first spin in the CD player told me it was good; a couple of further plays later and I was firmly hooked.  The reason or reasons why is not so easy to pin down but that in itself could be classed as a reason.

The music combines a number of sub genres and styles, including jazz-rock and touches of folk, yet maintains an overall medieval flavour with a hint of the Mediterranean.  A hint of Jethro Tull and Gryphon, a soupcon of Thomas Dolby, a sprinkle of YES, a morsel of Sally Oldfield and a drop of Canterbury to taste can all be detected in the delicious recipe of melodies and sounds that is Atlas.

There are also moments of Hackett and Gentle Giant, the latter very noticeable in the closing 20 seconds of the album where a reprise of various sections are combined.

Male and female vocalists (lyrics in French), a rhythm section that delivers punch and liveliness when called upon, bright and intricate guitar and Hammond style organ, and terrific riffs, melodies and arrangements make Atlas an absolute delight.

Jem Jedrzejewski

Minimum Vital



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