Most of the bands from the sevenites have changed direction during the eighties. Take "Earth & Fire" for instance. From some very good symphonic rock they went poor disco. I won't remind you what happened to ELP, Camel, Genesis, Yes etc.
Machiavel will be no exception. After the release of their two proggiest albums ("Jester" and "Mechanical") they followed the changes and adopted a more pop orientation ("The Humans" very much in the Supertramp vein), some good reggae influences are to noticed in their second Belgian hit-single : "Over The Hill". A very commercial, funny but pleasant song. It is still played in their live sets and pleases a lot the Belgian audiences. The chorus is really catchy.
It sounds that Marc is on the lead vocals for "Still Alive". This ballad is actually very pleasant during the second and instrumental part. "City Flowers" is of the same kind but it features better vocals. The melody is very much Beatles-esque during the first half. As usual, Machiavel will switch to an upbeat rhythm during the second half which makes this song rather interesting.
The lows of this album (of the whole Machiavel repertoire) is definitely the funky "Dancing Herores". Don't even bother to listen to it. Absolutely dreadful. Press next. This will lead you unfortunately on "I'm Not A Loser" which is not great either. Pop / soul / rock. I advise you to do the same than with the previous song. Next is the best option.
"Let Me Live My Life" is a candid rock ballad. Again, the Supertramp trade mark is obvious, but that's not bad an inspiration, I guess. It is of course a mellow one but after all, I prefer to listen to this type of mucic than to what was available on "Reality fills Fantasy" from "Earth & Fire" for instance.
The closing number is fully rock oriented. Extremely dynamic, this song features interesting lyrics about the "sweet" dictators that govern our planet : "You the saviour, you 're just a dictator. Just an animal thirsty for blood, Coming to save the country. But you're slowly killing it with your medieval laws, Go home ! Sergeant don't try to be an emperor. Go home ! Don't try to be a king, Go home ! little Ayatollah don't try to be a president."
It is the second best song of the album and a surprising closing number.
Compositions are shorter than previously but several good songs are sitting here. Prog elements are scarce but it is still worth a listen. Three stars (probably five out of ten when this rating will be available on PA). http://www.progarchives.com
Track Listing: 1. The Humans 2. Over the hill 3. Still Alive 4. City Flowers 5. Dancing Heroes 6. I'm not a loser 7. Let me live my life 8. The dictators 9. Over the hill * 10. King of slogans ** * This remixed song was unavailable on the original elpee, it was added to the CD release. ** This original B-side of the single "Over The Hill" is only available on the CD release.
The Band: - Marc Ysaye / drums & voclas - Mario Guccio / vocals - Albert Letecheur / keyboards - Jean Paul Devaux / guitar - Roland De Greef / bass