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Garolou - Romancero CD (album) cover



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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Garolou's third album sees another personnel change, ex-newcoming second guitarist Baudouin did not hang around and he was replaced by Gaston Gagnon. Romancero is the logical continuity of the group's electric folk rock adaptation, but there is a modern twist to it. Even if the artwork doesn't imply it with its XIXth Century-type photo, the group does modernize their sounds, as if Tull had moved from SFTW to TB&TB

Opening on the Tull-sounding (HH-era) Mariage Anglais, the following Sur Le Bout Du Pont presents some disputable synths sounds, with an almost new-wave rhythm, sign of the times (we are now in late 79- early 80). The almost 6-mins Nicholas is probably the most Tull- sounding track, yet sports a medieval fell conveyed through the opening riff. Unfortunately Dans Paris is a bit like MOR Chanson Française with a sax intervention courtesy of guest Wiseman, and Limonade is one of those cliché jigs with guest violinist brother Robert Lalonde. Not a very good opening and unfocused side

The flipside returns to Tull realm with Garçon, but it's really up to D'Où Reviens-Tu Mon Fils with its six minutes of quiet ambiances and slow build-up leading to finally some real interplay between the members. This track is easily the highlight of the album with Nicholas a distant second, just before the excellent follow-up dramatic Le Condamné, which stops with the firing squad doing its deed. The album finishes with two average tracks, but it's clear that the flipside does save Romancero from sinking.

Not exactly living up to its two older siblings, Romancero still has enough arguments to be presented as a Garolou classic album, something that will not be possible to its successor Centre Ville. Not essential, but if you liked the first two?..

Report this review (#236021)
Posted Monday, August 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album continues with the classic Garolou sound, although with less of the traditional folk and multi-part vocals that worked so well on their previous self-titled album. This album contains two of their concert favourites "Sur Le Bout Du Pont" and "Quand J'Etais Garcon", which are among their more rocking tunes, although they are not my own favourites. The most musical tunes on the album, and the ones closest to their sound on their first two albums, are "Nicholas" and the closer "Le Condamne". There is also the Acadian- and zydeco- influenced "Danse de La Limonade", which was recorded live, and is a lot of fun. There is only one song I don't like on this album - "Dans Paris" - it is the only one that might be considered AOR, with slick sounding synths and saxophone solos. If you like their first two albums, you will like this one too, as it really (mostly) keeps to the same sound. I don't think it is quite as good as those though, so only pick this one up after you get the earlier ones. I give this 7.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.
Report this review (#1698940)
Posted Sunday, March 5, 2017 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars The dark forces of punk and new wave of the early 1970s were crowding out folk rock acts like GAROLOU, the resurgence of the genre under the auspices of bands like the POGUES and the WATERBOYS was still a few years off. It is thus not surprising that their third disk, released at the dawn of the 1980s, received less attention than its predecessors. It didn't help that it was also somewhat less inspired.

The compositions and arrangements are generally not as ambitious, but, if one explores more objectively, 3 tracks are prime prog folk, rivaling the best of earlier output: the heavy and atmospheric "Nicholas", the ominous epic "D'ou reviens-tu mon fils Jacques", and its apt successor "Le Condamne". Unfortunately none of them received their due, probably because the airplay outlets had vanished, and the album's most popular tracks, while thoroughly competent and, in the case of "Sur le Bout du Pont", quite refreshing, were concessions to the era, furthering the group's decline. I am also torn about the way in which the album ends, with the firing squad at the end of "Le Condamne". On the one hand, it's commendable that they continued to explore sober historical matters, but what a downer, especially when the album offers a good deal of lighter fare. Among these are the suave lightly jazzy "Dans Paris" and the live Cajun-tinged "La Danse de La Limonade". While the breadth of fare is eclectic, saving the best for last, where the best is so dire in subject matter, might not have been the canny choice.

"Romancero" proved to be the penultimate album of GAROLOU's initial run, and the last of interest to prog folk audiences. Guardedly recommended as a fling rather than an extended courtship.

Report this review (#1737406)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2017 | Review Permalink

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