Puzzle King is a French rock band led by François Puzenat, who does vocals, guitars, keyboards and programming on the album—not to mention he also wrote all of the songs.
Anna’s Revolution is a concept album about a young couple who are trying to survive through the Russian Revolution (1913 – 1917). Puzenat chose to tackle this concept because he has ties to the Revolution through his grandparents, who experienced it (http://puzzleking.bandcamp.com/album/annas-revolution). The concept is of course interesting, and one can’t help but listen to the album in its entirety in order to see how the story unfolds.
From a musical standpoint, the album is sort of hit or miss. The band calls themselves a progressive rock group, but half the time they seem to transition into parts randomly, not paying much attention to the progression of the song. The key changes usually fail to stimulate. Sometimes it seems like the band breaks key just for the sake of breaking key, rather than using those changes to make the song more progressive and provocative.
But as I said before, the album is hit or miss: there are some really creative and clever things going on alongside the misfires. I’m talking mostly about the programming, as there are some tones and effects that appear throughout the album that are very texturally interesting. The guitar work is also provocative. Puzenat shows a lot of range with his playing as the guitars move from pretty and euphoric chords, to bluesy solos, to simple 70’s rock power chords movements and beyond.
But here is my biggest qualm with the album, and it’s a big one: I cannot stand the vocals. The melodies, the abilities of the singer, the harmonizing with the other instruments, it’s all pretty bad. The melodies are typically monotone and sound detached from the rest of the music. A lot of times it seems that Puzenat focused a lot more on telling the story of the album rather than making sure the vocals meshed well with the instrumental stuff. Thinking back on the album (which I JUST finished listening to), I can’t remember one of the melodies: they are that forgettable. This is unfortunate because such a great concept for an album becomes lost when one doesn’t appreciate how the lyrics are presented.
Key Tracks: The Soviet, At the Front, The Assault
Seth Wood-MuzikReviews.com Contributor
July 16, 2012