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Pollen - Pollen CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 189 ratings

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3 stars Some excellent original tracks.

Formed by musicians who would later on, separately, become important figures (often behind-the-scenes) in the Quebec music scene, this one-off album from then-young group Pollen contains some excellent music. However, the best tunes come at the end of the vinyl sides, while the tracks opening each side are the weakest, which means it takes a bit longer to discover the gems here. I agree with other reviewers that many parts of this album have a derivative feel, and that the writing is not yet mature, which was (and still is) fairly normal for a debut album. There are sections that bring to mind Genesis, and Gentle Giant, whose 1974 tour they opened for (they also shared the bill with Caravan in Quebec). The least musical track here, in my opinion, is actually the opening song "Vieux Corps de Vie D'Ange", so the casual listener might not be motivated to listen to the album too often. But this band does have its own sound, particularly on the tunes that close each side (of the original vinyl album). Of course, these for me are the highlights, and I would even say they should make it into the list of classic Quebec pieces. These harken more to other Quebec music of the time than to the British groups. The tune that closes side 1, "L'Indien", is really a folk tune, not even rock, but it is to me the best song on the album. Really a beautiful song, and original - very much their own voice. While I agree that the singing in general across the album is not quite on par with the best, it is still solid, and on this song it works very well. Meanwhile, the track that closes the album, "La Femme Ailee", is a 10- minute mini-epic with some great dark organ playing, original writing, and really excellent drumming. There are also sections of "L'etoile" and "Tout'l temps" that are great, with really nice arpeggiated guitar/keys parts and some difficult drumming (the drummer, Sylvian Coutu, was in the original lineup of Quebec fusion group Uzeb). So, while overall the album is not likely to blow anyone away, it does contain some excellent musical tracks, and is thus worth picking up. I give this album 7.5 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to high-ish 3 PA stars.

Walkscore | 3/5 |


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