Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"Harmonium" 1974

Harmonium were probably the most beloved and best known progressive band to come from Quebec in the 70's. The first version of the group was a trio consisting of vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter Serge Fiori, bassist Louis Valois and yet another singer and guitarist in Michel Normandeau. It was this line-up of the group who completed the band's self-titled debut in 1974, with the help of guest Rejean Emond on drums. It's definitively their most modest and least progressive album (meaning also their least interesting one), but it never the less became their most popular release home in Quebec where several of the songs became huge hits. Musically the record was acoustic and sophisticated folk with some very minor progressive hints. The eight songs are all dominated a lot by the two acoustic guitars and Fiori's vocals, which by the way definitively are some of the most pleasant I've heard from a French language singer. There's also some nice vocal harmonising between Fiori and Normandeau, which reaches a climax on the gorgeous ending of the opener "Harmonium" that also features guest Alan Penfold on flugelhorn. There's also some unaccredited piano, flute and harpsichord on several of the songs. Best songs include the earlier mentioned "Harmonium", "Aujourd Hui, Je Dis Bonjour a La Vie" (featuring an acoustic showcase from the two guitarists), the pretty "Vielles Courroies" and their signature tune "Pour un Instant". But it's hard to not feel that the band's full and true musical potential yet had to surface, no matter how good these songs are. And the sing-along ending of "Un Musicien Parmi Tant D'Autres" is a bit too cheesy for me, sounding like some sort of union-anthem. Luckily, Fiori & co. would quickly ditch this basic approach to the music, and instead explore their full progressive strengths and abilities on the two next albums. (vintageprog.com)

Sample pic: Click

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best and one of the most popular Quebecois groups - you must hear this music 1 Download it and enjoy. You will NOT be dissapointed.

Thanks for the wonderful music.

Guy

14 December, 2006 06:30  
Anonymous rhayader said...

Thanks for posting this hard-to-get album. I'm sure l'll be back to this blog again and again.

13 February, 2007 16:58  
Anonymous Dale said...

This was my first Harmonium album and I think it's wonderful. L'Heptade is the masterpiece worth seeking out though....I have 2 sets of vinyl, and fortunately I also got a CD copy when CBS Canada put it out.

Look for CANO's ""Au Nord de Notre Vie" (sp?) if you like this.

16 November, 2008 01:26  

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