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Et Cetera - Et Cetera CD (album) cover

ET CETERA

Et Cetera

 

Eclectic Prog

4.18 | 115 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars It recently came to my attention that Québec had a very robust prog scene going on in the seventies. I found a web site that explained how British prog, the aristocracy of British pop, ironically found its biggest Canadian audience in Francophone Québec at the height of the Separatist movement. Gentle Giant, Genesis, Pink Floyd and the other big bands of the classic period of prog garnered their biggest album sales and sold out more concerts in la belle province.

Naturally, many Francophone musicians had to try their own hands and lips at progressive music. Harmonium have left the biggest impression with their album "Si on avait besoin d'une cinqui'm saison", an album often cited among prog fans' favourite albums. But there were many other excellent bands, including Et Cetera, who unfortunately only released one album. One very excellent 70's prog album.

The web site ProgQuebec states that Et Cetera sound most similar to Gentle Giant, and it's true that their vocal arrangements do strongly resemble Gentle Giant's syncopated medieval approach. The music too often sounds like something Gentle Giant would do. But I'm also hearing some Gryphon and perhaps a bit of ELP, too. Their use of a Moog in "Eclaircie" reminds me a bit of Colosseum II with Don Airey. And perhaps it comes as no surprise to find certain similarities to Rock Progressivo Italiano, though my experience there is currently limited to a few albums.

All classically trained musicians, Et Cetera distinguish themselves from their musical mentors by adding their own personal touches. First of all, the guitar solos sound more solid rock than what I've heard in RPI and the band can steer into a harder hitting rock style when they want. Their vocal approach does sound inspired by Gentle Giant often enough; however, one lead vocalist is Marie Bernard Pagé, so with a female vocalist sharing lead, they can avoid sounding like a copy of their British inspirations. Marie is also known for playing an unusual instrument known as an Ondes Martenot (a kind of early electronic keyboard instrument) and was invited to play it on Harmonium's famous album. Another obvious distinguishing aspect would be the French lyrics.

The music shifts from quirky eclectic prog to more rocky core prog to acoustic to grooving rock with frequent Moog appearances, as well as tasteful piano passages. In a way, it's just like you'd expect a true prog album from the seventies to sound: something groovy, something light, something quirky, something hard, something daring, something rooted in classical. It's actually quite a shame this band only released one album because they did a stellar job, and I can say the recording quality here is top notch. No muddy mixes. No quicksand tape hiss. Everything crisp and distinguishable.

Francophone bands in Québec had a tough time in the seventies. Singing only in French won them support from Separatists and made them heroes in French Canada but made it tough for them to find an audience beyond in Anglophonic Canada or the big American market. When some bands tried to record English albums, though, they were criticized and derided at home. Perhaps the Separatists in the end helped snuff out the flame of Québec prog in the seventies by forcing them to stay French. Or maybe it continued to survive and I just haven't found out yet.

Highly recommended for fans of eclectic seventies prog, particularly if you enjoy non-English lyrics. Actually I give this album 4.5 stars.

FragileKings | 4/5 |

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