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Opus-5 - Contre-Courant CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.22 | 93 ratings

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5 stars Part symphonic rock, part jazz-rock fusion (especially in the piano), part folk (especially in the harmonium-like vocal harmonies), this band from Québec sounds like a cross between Maneige, Harmonium, and Sloche (which just happen to be all Québec bands).

1. "Les temps des Pissenlits" (9:10) Central to the success of this great song is the HARMONIUM-like earworm choral vocal repeated over the course of the second two-thirds. (18.5/20)

2. "Il Çtait magicien" (11:40) opens like a CAMEL-RICK WAKEMAN piece. Other sounds and motifs that are familiar remind me of RENAISSANCE, TRAFFIC, ELP, and even ELTON JOHN. Not always cohesive or easily flowing, there is so much great music and musicianship on display here that I can't help but rate it highly. Strange that it goes so quite/delicate with two minutes to go. Quite anti-climactic. (18/20)

3. "Les saigneurs" (9:21) opens with anachronistic sounding steel-string guitar work--Anthony Phillips "Private Parts and Pieces"-like. At the end of the second minute tom-toms usher in a choral vocal section that sounds very much like a FOCUS-like play on classical traditions. Even the piano play and stop-and-go forms used feel FOCUS and/or GENTLE GIANT like. In the fourth minute, the musicians stop for a totally a cappella section before heading back into a jazzy flute and piano led "Moondance" like motif. Quite complex and virtuosic. The sixth and seventh minutes find the music alternating between precise jazz motifs and "Ancient"-sounding vocal responses. Then we move into a more pop music sounding section with gentle melodies and a simple instrumental chordal weave. (18.75/20)

4. "Le Bal" (5:42) sounds quite a bit like early Genesis--even the quirky story form structure of the song. Very nice keyboards and vocals. Quite and interesting and engaging song. (9/10)

5. "Contre-courant" (3:55) nature/harbor sounds mixed with odd synth sound lead into brief choral bank before the piano-based rock motif takes off in a GENTLE GIANT/FOCUS direction--lots of quirk playing off of very serious sounding classical riffs and motifs. Fascinating! Especially if this is, as it feels, intended to be a kind of tongue-in-cheek classical-rock fusion. (9/10)

Despite the obvious skill and virtuosity of all of the musicians involved, central to the band's achievements are the keyboard play of Olivier Du Plessis: he is a marvel to listen to. I am also quite impressed by the bass and flute playing and the vocals.

An excellent contribution of FOCUS/CAMEL-like progressive rock music. In fact, this music--and the temperament conveyed through it--is quite on the same par as all of the afore-mentioned bands. I call this a masterpiece!

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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