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Harmonium - Harmonium CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.64 | 204 ratings

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3 stars In three short years, Serge Fiori and his cohorts in Harmonium broke new ground and wrote their way into the hearts of millions. While the two other studio albums Si on avait besoin d'une 5ième Saison and L'Heptade deservedly have their fans, this debut is by no means to be ignored. It is less progressive, and folkier than the works which followed but a throughly pleasing album nonetheless.

I admit that I was totally hooked by the sheer exuberance of Aujourd'hui Je Dit Bonjour A La Vie, apparently a track written from the point of view of a recovering drug user who observes the simple joy of children at play. It rides first on a folky melody, and then a lovely acoustic guitar jam featuring the talents of Michel Normandeau. Other highlights include the melancholic title track, with its upbeat bursts and nice brassy outro. The description that came to mind was that of a cross between Lindisfarne and Barclay James Harvest with a little bit of America thrown in!

Elsewhere there's Si Doucement which mixes a light jazzy Latin feel with a Tull-style flute from Pierre Daigneault, Vielles Courroies (the only track with drums ... courtesy of guest Réjean Émond) which also has lovely flute from Daigneault and an excellent oh-so-mellow outro. Pour Un Instant is another joyous piece (with hints of The Beatles' Here Comes The Sun just for a second or two) and lovely interplay between the guitars ... I believe it was an actual hit at the time.

It never gets very complex on this album, and generally each piece has quite a similar style to the next ... Un Musicien Parmi Tant d'Autres is perhaps the most diverse sounding piece (and at 7 minutes it's the longest) but actually I don't like it as much as some of the others, and that's despite the singalong chorus that closes the song out!

This is an excellent folk-rock album, but from a prog perspective, I can hardly call it a compulsory purchase. Yet, once you do immerse yourself in the second album, which is indeed an essential work, you'll really want this to see where it all began. ... 58% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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