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Daniel Gauthier - Above the Storm CD (album) cover


Daniel Gauthier



3.68 | 12 ratings

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4 stars Born as he was in the province of Quebec in 1959, Daniel Gauthier was weaned on the British progressive rock of the 1970s, and on a much broader smorgasbord than elsewhere in North America. La Belle Province was where most of the big names of the genre broke first, but also where many of the also-rans were superstars of sorts. This may explain why his work on "Above the Storm" is much more than a distillation of a few voices, among them Jon Anderson/Frank Bornemann with a thick French Canadian accent. Luckily, Gauthier more than compensates through his instrumental skill and a gift for catchy and well rounded tunes.

"Above the Storm" is a much less bombastic album than most neo prog, with few heavy elements, and avoiding overflowing arrangements in favour of texture and melody. It is a wise move, since Gauthier plays most instruments and might otherwise overwhelm us if he was to be cloned a few too many times. His arsenal is particularly well equipped on bass, which almost singlehandedly conjures one of the highlights of the disk, "Evening of a New Romance", one part reflective rocker and one part spacey instrumental in which lead guitarist Gaston Gagnon provides a perfect foil for the bass. "Silent Years" sports a similar construction without repeating itself, and in fact the last minute and a half are reminiscent of some of ELOY's classic work. "Cross the Bridge" is the 17 minute closer that confirms Gauthier's adventurousness while lying within spitting distance of a sparer ALAN PARSONS.

The weaker pieces are only so assessed in comparison with the highlights, and tend to be those that are more vocal oriented, like the title cut and "Real Love", in which the preciousness of the phonetic approach and admittedly simplistic lyrical themes stand starkly in need of a PENDRAGON-like washout. But more often than not "Above the Storm" hits the mark because of its refreshingly understated approach with no attempt to sound more polished than it is, or to jar the listener with arresting tempo changes. Gauthier seems to be above all that, hence merits an extra half star.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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