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Release Info: MAHJUN-HAPPY FRENCH BAND, LP, 1977, FRANCE
Yup, truth in advertising, these French proggers (a later iteration of the band whose 1971 recording under the name Maajun I shared long ago) sure as hell have their happy pants on and that's no banana in their pocket either, but however jolly this whole shebang gets, there's a core of powerhouse jazz rock/hard rock smarts in Mahjun's particular prog rock admixture that perfectly contextualizes these impish (and potentially wayward) shenanigans by framing them against irrefutable finesse. With four years on from their prior outing, the mystically shimmering sympho treacle production gambits that put that previous (and eponymous) 1974 outing closer in tone to Peter Gabriel in a fox head give way here to something closer to Komintern on a unicycle with bike horns tooting or Didler Malherbe doing a capering little alto sax dance around the perimeter of Planet Gong, though absent the latter's drug lacquer and hitched to a chassis with a strange leftward torque to it; one that filters their jazz rock impulses through as much chanson as hard rock, which sounds like about as chalk and cheese a combo as can be imagined, but somehow they manage to keep these simultaneous balls in the air without looking ungainly; a feat in itself. A goodie, if your affections for French prog hew to the quirk as much as the swoon.
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