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Troisième Rive - Banlieues CD (album) cover


Troisième Rive


Prog Folk

4.30 | 17 ratings

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4 stars The essence of beauty

This is a beautiful album; splendid melodies, calm and slightly melancholic, fabulous special sounding deep and warm vocals, a great French flavour in the accordion playing and lovely lyrics, by Alex Abouladze and there's more.. This is a great album to play early on a Sunday morning while drinking a cup of coffee (or tea) and staring outside your window at the day coming out of its envelope. The occasional gentle electric guitar gives a nice addition to the smooth and tender sound of this album which is in essence an electro- acoustic sounding bunch of tunes. In essence this is a splendid folk-rock album, with fantastic French flavors.

The ingredients:

The vocals of Jean-Pierre Balland are one of the highlights of this album; they are the power that drives the attractive nature of the music. This would have been a totally different sounding release with another vocalist, a completely different effect and atmosphere. The second important ingredient is the lineup of guitars (electric and electro-acoustic) which are the backbone in here. They provide the core to which are added the "entourage" of the other musical instruments. We then have the accordion, piano, mandolin and electric guitar (which does the soloing). Those are the tone setting instruments. The guitar gives the fantastic topping of the semi-frisky tone, a somewhat cheerful sound and charm. The accordion is one of my favourite instruments and here it is played in a clear French folk style. The mandolin is another good occasional addition and the piano has a fantastic rhythmic part in here (Amalia). The lyrics of Alex Abouladze are the final layer but an essential part; like the vocals, if those had been different and less thought-out and charming, then the album would have not been this good.

The album is not devoid of its intricacies. There is what to appreciate here in terms of musical layering, musicianship, lyricism, style, warmth of music and the ability of the musicians to successfully pass varied emotions onto the listeners. But if I was to remember this album for anything, it would be for its beauty and warmth.

To sum this up:

How can one resist such a magnificent album? I have once said it is not an essential album but I have since learned to think otherwise and now retract my words. It is an essential album for all those who appreciate a very well done folk-rock album; a highly entertaining and most importantly highly gratifying album. The beauty of the music is such that it warms my heart each time I hear the opening guitar playing of Banlieues, the opening song.

avestin | 4/5 |


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