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SYNCOPE

Syncope

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Not much is know about Syncope an its sole album is not only very rare, but almost damn well impossible to gather info on the web, if only by this superb ProgArchives' entry, courtesy of collabs Alain and yours truly. Needless to say that unless ProgQuebec decides to release it, you'll not be able to score the vinyl easily either. Hiding behind a poetic musical dawn artwork, this septet is a very brassy affair, presenting a bit like a Quebecois version of Chicago through seven tracks ranging from four to six and a half minutes and one splendid mini-epic nearing eleven minutes.

The aptly-named septet develops some excellent syncopated prog-enhanced brass-rock, that sounds very Quebecois, not least through the relatively accent-less duo French vocals (often close to Opus-5), bar the swingy blues Bleu d'Hull track, which sticks out a bit too much from the rest of the album. Indeed the four tracks of the opening side sound like a calm and thoughtful version of Chicago or a less-kitschy Lighthouse without being derivative, the main difference being in the double vocals and an uncompromising songwriting. The flipside opens on the album's centrepiece, the instrumental self-titled mini-epic lasting almost 11 minutes, often running quite complex and even symphonic (grandiose intro on a church pipe organ), but never needlessly so. After an average mainly-sung track, the album closes on two splendid tracks, the first Cible (target) sounding like a brassy Opus-5 song, while the amazing instrumental finale of Rage features some wild Spanish-sounding horns that draws chills in the back of the neck. What an awesome way to finish an album.

If you'll make the exception of the sung-swing-song closing the A-side that ruins its cohesiveness, the album is a very impressive, filled with often-superb brass-rock that is probably more brilliant than the early Chicago classic albums. Actually while there are dozens of Quebecois prog album that have yet to still find way onto a Cd reissue, I can't find many that would deserves a more urgent job as Syncope's album, along Michel Madore's two albums. Sooo if Sean and Stephen happen to read this modest "baffouille"? hopefully they'll react.

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Posted Thursday, March 24, 2011 | Review Permalink

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