Modesty In Epic Guise


OLIVIER ROCABOIS - The Pleasure Is Goldmine  (All If Music)

With his 2021 solo debut Olivier Rocabois Goes Too Far the man whose name appears in the title introduced his gaudy vision to the world. Astonishingly accomplished and eloquent, it remains an album deserving of wider discovery by many more souls than those who already have enjoyed the wealth of its artistry.

As a bridge to future sighs he has now delivered The Pleasure Is Goldmine a glittering selection of his choral baroque sensibility. Brian Wilson surfs the stars with Bowie as McCartney oversees their celestial journey. This French maverick, entirely self taught on the piano has talent to burn and spare

"Watch The Seasons Come And Go" is a melancholy ballad that echoes the late Jobriath vocally and on piano flourishes of elongated chords. A plaintive sequence of postcard thoughts, it builds and soars with a casual jauntiness of tone suggestive of Paul McCartney meets Jellyfish.

"I want to spend my life with you. 

 Take you into my arms every morning. 

 When the sun comes up and till the sun beats down"

A wish one can only hope that has been cemented by this elegant song.

"I'd Like To Make My Exit With Panache" has a vibe of early Steely Dan, full of of confident airiness it reminds me of that other graduate from Sixties baroque and roll, Manchester's adopted American son. B.C Camplight, a boy on whom piano lessons were far from squandered.

There's a subtle psych vibe suggestive of The Left Banke to "New Years's Crazy Ego's" -- a moody masterpiece that despite the scale of its ambition, never falls over itself. Shades of Queen tango with E.L.O to create a confection of sheer luxury and delight. A mini opera with undertones of The Zombies, John Howard, who has collaborated with Rocabois, and early RCA David Bowie. Beautifully spacey at the end. An epic beyond epic and brazenly ambitious.

Like a chorister Bowie in cahoots with Peter Gabriel "Brain Cells" has an ethnic tryst, a mesmerizing prayer-like elegance, all too brief but perfectly formed.

"I Would Have Loved To Love You" is a majestic but restrained symphony of aching wishfulness. Lavishly constructed it has a variety of shade and tone, slinking and slithering along, festooned with a choral eloquence. An epic with heaven in its sights it pulsates to an eerie silence at the end.

"My nervous system is falling to pieces.

 One too many arguments.

 I'm living for a better life

 I'm leaving for the second time"

Hope in a twisted tryst of reality and despair.

This is an EP that delivers the satisfaction of an album in five tracks, an alluring indication of what one can anticipate from the next outing from this wonderfully talented maestro. Olivier Rocabois wears his influences with pride but they never consume him since he makes them entirely his own. Clever without ever sounding smart-ass, he is that rare thing in the modern world, a genuine soul with grand ideas and the ability to deliver them with room to spare.

He may have invented a niche for himself in the form of Glam Baroque. Ignore at your peril for fear of missing out on something magical, something splendid, something simply grand.

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