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Harmonium - Harmonium CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.64 | 223 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
2 stars This was SO all over the FM airwaves in Quebec for years after its release that it's hard to listen to it without still feeling like it is overrated and overplayed. Yet it struck me even then how self indulgent Harmonium was, and those flaws are magnified 10-fold in the post-punk era. Indeed, this is a singer songwriter album more than a band album, with Serge Fiori having a hand in the lyrics of 5 of the 8 songs, grabbing onto one navel gazing reverie after another, and surrounded in general by the blandest of accompaniments - the strummed acoustic guitar and syncopated bass.

Apart from Fiori's affirming "Aujourd'hui je dis bonjour a la vie", the better songs tend to be those with lyrics written by Michel Normandeau - the lovely "Vieilles Courroies" and the anthemic "Pour In Instant" with its gorgeous melody and guitar technique. These three tunes represent the best of Quebecois folk rock of their era. Unfortunately they are more than offset by mundane efforts like "Attends moi" and "Si Doucement", while the finale latches on to one interesting phrase and tries to turn it into a mantra. In the end, it sounds like a plea to have us listeners pay attention to the musician just because we brought him into the world!

The fact that the self absorption on display in Harmonium's music might represent that of an entire generation of young Francophones during the early 70s might make this more valuable as a historic document than for any artistic merit. But, even there, the level of songwriting is not consistently high enough to warrant three stars.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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