"Ames Vagabondes" (Galileo; 2006)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Ex-Vagus, a French band unknown to me up until the time I received their latest effort “Ames Vagabondes” for review, is a progressive rock act that draws from a broad palette of sounds, textures, and moods.

If there is one complaint I have about progressive rock is that it can wander at times – mostly for no good reason other than musical masturbation. On “Ames Vagabondes” Ex-Vagus often wander – and it has just occurred to me that my ancient, long-forgotten French language skills are playing mind tricks because it is easy to see the word ‘vagabondes’ as an actual vagabond. Sometimes the band wanders for what appears to be a damn good reason, sometimes not. I’m sure repeated listens of “Ames Vagabondes” will reveal more good reasons for the band’s meandering musical ways – but for now the expression “it’s not the destination that counts, it’s the journey” will have to suffice as a good way to describe the album.

“Ames Vagabondes” goes on for just over an hour – providing much entertainment as it moves along. The typical vagabond is probably running away from something or just can’t stand to be in one place at all. But in retrospect “Ames Vagabondes” appears to searching for a destination and place to call home. Seems like a paradox, now, doesn’t it? But methinks that curious paradox has given Ex-Vagus the creative impetus for “Ames Vagabondes.”

In summary, it is best to explain Ex-Vagus as combining the great kaleidoscope tradition of King Crimson and early-era Genesis with the modern soundscapes of Dream Theater (albeit not as heavy). Additionally, I hear a lot of the prog-rock style that made Rush such huge luminaries in the rock scene in the late ‘70s.

“Ames Vagabondes” has limited appeal directed only at those who like their progressive rock free of most things heavy and metal. However, that said, “Ames Vagabondes” is probably the best release from Galileo that I’ve heard – sonically rich, expertly played, and cohesive.

“Ames Vagabondes” was produced by Ex-Vagus.

Ex-Vagus: Eric Vedovati on vocals, Xavier Le-Loupp on guitar, Loic Consolin on bass, Dominique Barboyon on keyboards, and Thierry Lesaffre on drums.

For more information visit http://www.ex-vagus.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 17 Jul 2022 13:29:13 -0400 .