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Harmonium - Harmonium CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.63 | 201 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Fantastique! Extraordinaire! Incroyable!" (Amazing! Outstanding! Fabulous!)

Thanks to ProgArchives to refresh my memory and send me back more than 25 years ago when I noticed the existence of Harmonium and also had the pleasure to hear many songs in an old tape recorder. Really the tape was not mine and when the owner took it back I lost contact. Well, but those moments were great indeed.

Now, I had to make a sort of pilgrimage to recover the band's material; a hard work, fellows! But worth the price and here I am pleasantly hearing this little jewel and writing this review. The first thing that touches me is the cultural link with that Quebecois band; there's some smell of Latinity, the real one, original, back to the same roots, the same background. The other thing is that in many points their music reminds me some ballads and modinhas* from my own country that have been composed from more than 2 centuries until now - but again the roots are the same.

The songs:

'Harmonium' is a catchy opening track, good guitar and good vocal with exquisite French accent with good choir and voices. The fastest part remembers some enjoyable soft rocks of the 60s.

'Si doucement' is also fair, now guitar seems to offer some bossa nova tunes, just like the almost soothing singing. Refrain is rich with chords and a drum beat, very characteristic. A flute sound appears suddenly and it's like Ian Anderson was a guest.

'Aujourd'hui, je dis bonjour la vie', an apparent optimistic song with some sad moments. The voice rises from soothing to exciting. Guitars sound great, too.

'Vielles courroies' seems a continuation from previous track, but now the piano and the flute are more present.

'Attends-moi' is animated, amusing, average.

'Pour un instant' is like Beatles singing in French, the beginning is very similar to Harrison's 'Here comes the sun' and the tune hovers over again along the song.

'De la chamber au salon' is the best track, although acoustic is also the most prog song of the album with changes in tunes, fascinating atmosphere, marvelous singing.

'Un musicien parmi tante d'autres' is a good ending track, the strong bass and guitar give a rocky environment together with funny and catchy vocal.

Well, my CD copy has also a bonus track, '100,000 raisons', a fair song where rhythm transits from the French chanson to a soft rock and then to a folk tune.

One will ask: 'and where are the moog, the mellotron, the electric guitars, the heavy percussion to make this album a real prog work?'. I don't mind if Harmonium is pure prog, folk-prog or prog-related or whatever; the soul of this namesake album is totally progressive.

I observed some production flaws but as a whole the work is excellent. Total: 4 stars.

* a gentle Brazilian musical style which origins can be traced to Middle Age's minstrels.

Atkingani | 4/5 |


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