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Harmonium - Harmonium CD (album) cover

HARMONIUM

Harmonium

 

Symphonic Prog

3.60 | 157 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Harmonium' - Harmonium (6/10)

Before they became a full-fledged progressive rock act with their second album, the French Canadian act Harmonium was married to a style of folk rock, as can be hear on this debut. In 1974, the band had not yet developed their style into anything really innovative, but instead took a much more songwriting-based approach to the sound. The result is an album that has a few really good tracks and great vocal work, but doesn't come close to the perfection Harmonium would achieve with their second album.

Listening to this from a relatively more modern viewpoint, the sound here is somewhat reminiscent of the recent indie folk movement; acoustic guitars and warm vocals, with the occasional horn or flute thrown in to keep things interesting. Although this is technically a band effort, it does have the feeling of a singer-songwriter album, most often being driven only by acoustic guitars and the vocals of Serge Fiori. Of the better songs here, the title track 'Harmonium' is a really perfect way to start off the album. Organic guitar strumming and bass are the only instruments starting off, before a bouncy drum backing touches things off. A thing one really notices here is that the bass and percussion are both highly underrepresented when compared to the vocals and guitars.

Another great track here is the single 'Pour Un Instant', which was coincidentally the first song I had ever heard by this band, before I even knew they were progressive rock! Some interesting details and flourishes in the acoustic guitar work really gives an added depth to what is otherwise an already pleasant track. Unfortunately however, many of the songs here do not have the melodic tact of the single, and instead feel a bit too long for their own good, without the sort of attention that would have made them (and the album as a whole) a really good experience.

Certainly not a balanced band effort, but a charming piece of pastoral pop folk from this fine Canadian band.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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