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Harmonium - Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.35 | 1349 ratings

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5 stars With the opening strains of Vert, a magical reflective journey unfolds. Harmonium's second album is a lush symphonic pastoral work, full of great melodies, powerful strings, darting flute runs, and virtually ever-present acoustic guitars. It reaches maximum intensity in the two epics Depuis L'automne and Histoires Sans Parole, but every piece is memorable. Unlike the first album with featured a guest drummer on one track, and was generally quite upbeat, this one moves along for more than 40 minutes, with scarcely a percussive sound, although main man Serge Fiori does keep time on the bass drum occasionally.

Having said that, the three shorter pieces do echo the style of the folky debut album. Vert, is a mournful acoustic ballad, becomes a jazzy celebration with scat vocals, great harmonies and understated electric piano. Dixie is an exuberant acoustic ragtime piece, the likes of which I have never heard before or since. Harmonium's mastery over their instruments is amazing on this one, as Serge Locat's tasty piano work intersperses with the dual acoustic guitars of Fiori and Michel Normandeau, with bassist Louis Valois underpinning the whole thing superbly. En Pleine Face is an incredibly moving delicate little hymn, on which Fiori reminds us just what an expressive vocalist he is.

But despite the quality of the shorter songs, nothing can match the scale of the two epics ... which are eleborate folky gems with astounding melodies. The moment when the breathy sax of Pierre Daigneault introduces (and accompanies) a guitar ramble in Despuis L'Automne is something special, and yet is superceeded by Histoires Sans Parole. The opening flute segment alone (which lasts for three gorgeous minutes) should break a few hearts, and when the acoustic guitars, piano and incredible mellotron strings lead into another intoxicatingly beautiful riff, it's almost impossible to take. Fans of acoustic Zeppelin and prog-folk of all colours, need to hear this majestic piece. It then breaks up into an eerie Crimsonesque adventure, with a unique emotional intensity ... by the gods when Fiori leads a wordless vocal, you want to cry. The beautiful ramble continues, with the odd jazzy undertone, before the opening flute melody returns backed this time, by the bass of Valois.

I don't know if this is unequivocal progressive masterpiece. But as far as progressive folk albums go, it is has a virtually unapproachable status (Gryphon's Red Queen To Gryphon Three is a rival that comes to mind). One day, you will fall in love with this album, I assure you of that. ... 93% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 5/5 |


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