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Harmonium - Harmonium CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.61 | 173 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Harmonium: Harmonium [1974]

Rating: 6/10

Despite being virtually unknown within the general music community, Quebec's Harmonium are considered by many progressive-rock fans to be one of the greatest bands of the 70s.Their second album Si On Avait Besoin D'une Cinquieme Saison is renowned for its gorgeous pastoral atmosphere and rich textured symphonics. Before they made that masterpiece of an album, however, Harmonium were a relatively low-key folk-rock band. This self-titled debut is a subdued and fairly simplistic piece of light folk music. The songs are largely centered on acoustic guitars, bass and vocals, although the occasional piano, flute, and sax show up as well. This album tends to be overshadowed by Harmonium's later work, which makes sense. Although this is a pleasant debut with many pretty moments, it's not a particularly deep or complex piece of work.

The title track is the definite highlight of the album. The vocals are absolutely gorgeous, and the acoustic guitar is simple yet effective. 'Si Doucement' is a nice upbeat folk song with a cool flute solo. 'Aujourd'hui, Je Dis Bonjour a La Vie' continues with the excellent guitar work, but is rather unmemorable otherwise. The same applies to 'Vielles Courroies', despite the nice piano. 'Attends-Moi' is more pure folk, with simple guitar backing up quiet vocals. 'Pour un Instant' is similar, although the guitar interplay is interesting. 'De La Chambre au Salon' is probably the album's strongest pure-folk piece. 'Un Musicien Parmi Tant d'Autres' is an overlong folk piece with an unnecessarily anthemic conclusion.

Harmonium's debut is a fun album with nice vocal melodies and competent musicianship. However, such things aren't enough to fully hold my musical attention. Most of these tracks fail to present enough diverse musical ideas, and the result is a rather homogenous release. There are some great moments here - the title track is one of the best pieces the band ever did - but the album as a whole is a bit too low-key for its own good. This is a good album; I can't imagine anybody having a particularly negative opinion of it. Regardless, it doesn't do justice to Harmonium's future legacy.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |


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