Les ambassadeurs de rock Quebecois defy time with another timeless collection, with another Juno nomination.
For all the musical richness of French Canada its music rarely crosses the borders of Québec, but this quartet, very popular there and awarded the Grand Prix du Disque in Paris, deserve – and get – much wider recognition. Dipping rock idiom in the Gallic and Celtic tradition, the band’s oeuvre can be as serious on the subject matter as it is merry in the toe-tapping delivery, and on their fifth studio outing the genres mélange, crystal solid on the tumultuous fable of “Le dragon de Chimay”, is as clear as the foursome’s message.
Thus, opener “Lettre à Durham” pitches actuality of la belle province’s special status in historic context while wrapping the anguish and angry in the most heart-gripping of tunes which unfurls from a gentle ballad into a nervous dance with a catchy chorus. The vocals carry the sharp emotion into the drone-adorned “Le coeur de ma mère” and hang a cappella at the start of the stomping “Le diable et le fermier”, whereas singer Nicolas Boulerice’s piano and Rejean Brunet’s accordion add texture to the airy “Manteau d’hiver” and contribute to the anxious lyricism of “Le souhait”.
With Olivier Demers’ fiddle and mandolin shining ever so brightly in the instrumental reel “Le winnebago”, there are even more lush strings to lull the prog-tinctured “Dans les cachots” yet, like the album’s title suggests, any genre definition would be too deceptive to describe this multi-layered delight of a record, which is both ancient and modern.