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Pollen - Pollen CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 166 ratings

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5 stars I still find it hard to believe that this is an one off album ... but it's true that Pollen just recorded just the one album back in 1976 and were then heard no more. The mid 70s were indeed a great time for Quebecois prog (Come to think of it even my favourite Rush albums came out around this time too!). I'll agree that Harmonium's music projects a more original character, but Pollen's best moments are outstanding. Led by the superb keyboard playing of the underrated Claude Lemay, Pollen's sole album is full of scintillating symphonic prog.

Take the opener Vieux Corps De Vie D´ange for starters ... the build-up is unbelievable with the band leaving vocalist Jacques Tom Rivest to do his stuff, before entering with aplomb. The tightness of some of the angular playing is thrilling, and as a keyboard fan I love hearing piano, organ and synth all used superbly on the same track (not sure if it is just Lemay because Rivest and guitarist Richard Lemoyne are also credited with keyboards). A lovely vibraphone solo, swirling spacey synth and a suitably desparing conclusion round off this perfect piece.

L´étoile, L'indien and the 10 minute closer La Femme Ailée are beautiful pastoral works that show that Pollen could do the acoustic guitar thing just as well as Harmonium, although the former eventually moves into a another melancholy spacey synth/organ moment and even a harpischord gets thrown into the magical brew. L´indien is the "simplest" piece on the album, but that doesn't stop it from being truly exquisite, while La Femme Ailée really takes off on the back of some sizzling synth work, and becomes a piece that alternately stomps and meanders. It's nice to see drummer Sylvain Coutu really shine on the latter half of this track.

Although every song is stellar, arguably my favourite song of all is Tout l´temps, a gorgeous short little piece that bursts into life with a fascinating series of harpischord and organ runs, and throws in a great vocal melody and a kick-ass synth solo to boot! Vivre la mort is suitably Gothic with lots of funky discordant organ work and a guitar solo from Lemoyne that would melt the heart of any Steve Howe fan.

I can see people making references to Yes and Genesis at various times during this album, but in truth there isn't a specific band that's quite like Pollen. This is mouth-watering music meant to be consumed by one and all. ... 91% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 5/5 |


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