Nemo: Le Ver Dans Le Fruit

Les proggeurs’ eighth album is intricate and engrossing.

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It’s tricky to put your finger on the sound that this enduring French band make, and in our world that is a pretty good thing. Led by guitarist and singer Jean Pierre Louveton, the four-piece have, over the course of some 11 years and eight albums, produced a consistent catalogue that draws on golden-age symphonic prog, successfully fusing it with harder-edged guitars and beats.

A double album, Le Ver Dans Le Fruit begins with the ersatz Gregorian chant of Stipant Luporum and blends into the strident Trojan and a series of knotty, engrossing and modern arrangements.

Guillaume Fontaine’s thoughtful keyboards offer cultivated textures, odd tonalities and more than hold their own against Louveton’s nimble lead lines. Dynamic, tasteful and highly listenable, their music deserves to be heard, and if my rusty French serves their lyrics are both poetic and socially charged, and bear scrutiny (the album title translates as ‘the worm in the fruit’).

As with, say, fellow Frenchmen Lazuli, Nemo’s music is thoroughly enjoyable regardless of language, right up to the stunning 17-minute closer here, Arma Diania. Extra points for Verset XV’s skill theremin, too.