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Harmonium - Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.35 | 1349 ratings

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2 stars PA has introduced me to an extensive list of artists that normally remain obscured by the mainstream Prog bands. But of course you can't expect to win them all, and Harmonium certainly hasn't been a revelations for me. I could understand an occasional 5star but their broad and fervent support is hard to grasp. For a top 20 album in the hit list, I had at least expected to hear Prog, and not a collection of easy-listening French folk songs, it's almost vaudeville at times. But apart from genre issues, also the acclaimed masterpiece-ness remains something of a mystery.

The first two tracks are acoustic 'chanson' pop, nothing more. Not bad but too sweet and tame. Somehow I would describe this as Nick Drake in a confusingly happy mood, doing some French tunes to greet an unexpected sunny day. Depuis L'Otomne adds some extended mellotron parts where the interplay with the acoustic guitars offers a first glimpse why this album is appreciated by proggers. En Pleine Face returns to pastoral hippy pop of the opening songs and sounds as old and woolly as a worn blanket.

Skip forward to the Histoires sans Paroles, an extended and dynamic piece that has a bit of everything. It offers some more argumentation to explain the album's popularity. The opening and closing aren't spectacular though, just some romantic themes with a light jazzy folk feel, rather mellow and stale. However, in the middle sit some very beautiful minutes, reminding me of Oldfield's Hergest Ridge. Harmonium add loads of mellotron on top of the acoustic instruments and create a magical dreamy atmosphere that develops nicely.

If you like light pastoral music (in other words if you like the album art), you will probably adore this album. I can't find it a masterpiece of anything, just an average album with a couple of carefully hidden minutes of excellence. I'm still undecided between 2 and 3 stars. If it would continue to find its way into my player I might round it up eventually.

Bonnek | 2/5 |


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