Crescent Streel 1971 / Out-Sider 2015
Obscure, if brilliant, and naive, if wild, heavy prog from Montreal that offers a roar and a rave.
Quebec isn’t famous for its rough rock, but this quartet, who formed in 1969 and banged a gong for hard rock heroes of the day, didn’t burden themselves with notions of exquisiteness. Digging deep to the emotional bone, they knew how to be anthemic, though, and the band’s only album marries the opposites perfectly. Opening cover of “Susie Q” throws singing bassist Robert Dufour to the raspy, rhythm-and-blues end of things, with Jean Charbonneau’s guitar twang supporting the impression so, even though “Friday Fish” adds spiritual layer to its infectious funk and “My Life” sees a nice organ shuffle from Serge Fleury, nothing prepares the listener to the artful touches which lie in the thick of the record.
Although blues colors the epic “Strange Power,” its raging uplift rests on the Renaissance sort of joy, while the playfulness of “Prodigal” is bathed in hymnal harmonies, but “Disaster” pours sneer into solemnity. And if “Ruins” rolls out an urban desperation, “Cement Jungle” skips in countrified, STONES-like manner, while “Loser” goes for the catchy boogie vibe. It could have run through the years, had the ensemble stayed together, so this platter remains a testament to the unfulfilled promise.