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Maneige - Les Porches CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.26 | 258 ratings

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4 stars Maneige's "Les Porches" demonstrates what can result when skilled musicians and composers decide to do what they do best without worrying about exactly what will result. This genre busting work would still merit that appellation even if came out today, as it virtually floats in time and space. Its largely pastoral nature is suffused with nostalgia and idealism for a time we all imagine but rarely experienced. Despite coming out during the peak of progressive rock in Quebec and abroad, and about as progressive as anything you will hear, it deftly eschews the excesses of its time.

The buildup to the title track, and one of the few vocal sections, sung brilliantly by Raoul Duguay, is nothing short of masterful, taking as it does nearly a side of lilting piano and flute interludes. Once Duguay has sung his piece, we are treated to a further progression in the form of a folk inspired and wind expressed theme, finally taken over by saxophone and lead guitars, ultimately erasing any memory of the pastoral beginnings. It's full of Quebecois joie de vivre.

The other major highlight is surely "Les Aventures...", which is more immediately lively than the side 1 material, a peppery brass mix with notable percussion. The piano work is one of the common links on this album, as it is prominent here once again, and some electric piano is thrown in to thicken the jazzy atmosphere. In the end, parts of this side sound a lot more like a jam than the title track, but it's all relative.

While I can't quite stretch to give this one 5 stars, that does not take away from its status as an essential album of the Quebec scene.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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