Apostolis "Retromaniac" Psarros
Obscure French Psychedelic Rock band, which existed between early- and mid-70's. Cheval Fou reputedly hailed from Paris and were fronted by brothers Jean-Max and Michel Peteau (both guitarists and singers) along with drummer Stephane Rossini. While the band had recorded several tracks around the time of its existence, none of these actually saw the light until 1994, when a collection of tracks was released in CD format on the French label Legend.The same album was re-released more recently by Fabrizio Di Vicino's Psych Up Melodies.
The sound of these recordings (clocking at 75 minutes) is pretty bearable considering they were rather amateur productions, just do not expect that much, we are talking about some early-70's tapes here, and the result is quite satisfying yet a bit dated. Musically, the band delivered a two-sided rock style. The one is deeply grounded in the Kraut/Psych-Rock mannerisms of ASH RA TEMPEL, early GONG and AMON DUUL, and the music is often led by repetitive guitar rhythms, long and trippy semi-improvisations, sound effects, while vocals do not come easy, being slightly distorted or delivered under wordless chords, still they hide a charming hidden power.The later combined with the long guitar tremblings of Plateau brothers, the sound effects and the drum work of Rossini offer the more narcotic music you can ever listen too! The other foot of Cheval Fou steps in the typical Heavy/Psychedelic Rock of the era, where the guitars play the basic role and offer powerful rhythms and sharp solos next to some very confident drumming. Nothing of course to get excited about but this pretty solid 70's Heavy Rock with some interesting guitar workouts and at moments appear even some prog-inclined breaks with complicated structures. The truth though is that most of the album's legth is dedicated to the trippy musicianship, which seems to be the band's main priority. The vocals as mentioned are an acquired taste. Narrative, melodramatic and often distorted, they seem to fit perfect to the overall atmosphere, but I can also see some of the listeners to be turned down by the excessive vocal approach.
My information say that Michel Peteau and Rossini went on to form Nyl just a year after Cheval Fou disbanded. The legacy they left with their previous group is sure to please all fans of hypnotic and Psychedelic Rock, creating series of tracks strongly influenced by the monsters of the genre aforementioned. Warmly recommended.
originally posted at www.progarchives.com