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L' Engoulevent - L'Ile Oł Vivent Les Loups CD (album) cover


L' Engoulevent

Prog Folk

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

This late-70's Quebec folk rock group (an acoustic quartet) released two albums on the ultra rare label Le Tamanoir and are of the more obscure band from La Belle Province. This debut album came with an intriguing gatefold album depicting Quebec's still very wild countryside, most of the participant coming from the "Moyen Nord" of the Saguenay rural region. While the album should be fairly accessible, it does require a few listening for it to unleash its secret ambiances. But the album could be easily also classified as symphonic rather than folkish.

At times the almost totally acoustic progressive folk music (very close to what Acadians developed in their heydays) can appear somewhat out of the scope of this site, but the classical influences and the rock arrangements ensure that the proghead will be paying attention from start to end. The superb Les Vieux Trains with its strings section answering Moreau's piano, while Maneige's Paul Picard is adding bells and superb other percussions, is an early highlight. After the title track as the other consequent song of the first side with its dark (almost tense and gloomy) ambiances and solemn singing, the needle lifts off after a short Ti-Boute, which is closing off each album side.

The B-side is off to a strong start, with the superb Voix Et Violon which obviously highlights both with Moreau's piano is right up there too, but there is a full cast of musicians added for that track, providing another delicious moment. The following track is a dramatic song about going to hunt the archenemy (the wolf) and the solemn texts are poignant at will. La Nouvelle is another riveting moment where all four members (five with Picard's excellent percussions) rival in inventivity. Je Me Demande is a much older track written by Conventum's Duschesne (with whom McLean had worked prior to this group's debut album) and you can actually hear it quite well, although it might seem a bit out of place on this album, the song's intricate arrangements are a pure joy.

After a fairly weaker first side, the album picked up speed and intensity and strode to their excellent level thanks to a superb B-side. One of my main gripes with this album (besides its lack of immediate accessibility) is its short length. As soon as you sat down, it seems that the needle lifts itself from the wax. Indeed this album is short (33 minutes) and leaves a bit of an unfinished aftertaste. While there are better Quebecois prog folk albums, this one is still a worthy addition to your folk prog section.

Report this review (#99180)
Posted Friday, November 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Some growers in our favorite musical genres take a few listens, weeks, months, years, or decades to finally capture our attention. I have absolutely no doubt that I was treated to analog samples from L'ENGOULEVENT's debut back at the time of release because I vividly remember them some 40 years on, without ever having attached more than ephemeral significance to them, let alone the name of the artist. Perhaps they needed to be sequestered to be appreciated, or maybe I'm the one who needs some isolation time after passing up a near prog folk masterpiece. Well, better late than never.

This blend of Quebecois/Acadien folk with classical music seems to have been envisioned by a twisted camera obscura that could look ahead and determine how wonderful it would sound in the future. It disembodies the idealism and hope of its day without a trace of self indulgence or self importance. This is best encapsulated in 3 brilliant numbers - "Les Vieux Trains", "Voix et Violons" and "Legende de la Chasse-Galerie". The latter is the only one with actual words, and is also the most trad sounding and vivacious. The closest comparison for the more dreamy numbers would be CANO. The manner in which the violins bridge folk, classical and jazz hits many of the same sweet spots, but just more consistently than CANO. "La Nouvelle" is another highlight and one of the more progressive tracks, with a few sympathetic shifts. The only misstep is the bizarre chanson "Je Me Demand", which is shockingly out of place but not out of time soon enough.

I can't quite award 5 stars due to the short running time and one track that is a mandatory skip, but "L'Ile ou Vivent les Loups" is a required time-travel destination per your prog folk trip advisor.

Report this review (#2170919)
Posted Wednesday, April 3, 2019 | Review Permalink

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