Life-affirming paean to the meek and weak who must be heard.
Admiring a Chagall masterpiece is a great way to get rid of depression, and Vincent Dufresne, who adopted the painting’s title for his project, know this only too well. Momentarily feeling alive, the Belgian also resolved to become a voice for the people who can’t speak for themselves.
“This world is made for winners, and we are not that kind”, goes the 13-minute drama of “Do Worry Be Sad” bemoaning the “family hell” as it gains the REM momentum and subsides to a slow techno with a delicate acoustic thread, although there can’t be a heavier start to an album than “The Great Scapegoat Seeking”, a dirge for the Holocaust victims. With no klezmer fiddle in sight, but with pealing bells and Eastern drone wrapped around pounding riffs that give way to Dufresne’s solemn voice and keyboards, the piece possesses a grave gravitas to suck one in, yet its organ coda throws a bridge to the upbeat, if not merry, country rock of “Shy People” to change the sad tack for a hopeful roll.
The piano-stricken “Human Connection” reveals the Drake-Buckley influence on Dufresne, but Vincent applies his own tremulous emotions to the likes of “Velvet Road”, lighter in its strumming and electronic percussion, and growing into an intense, while quite transparent, hymn. The scope takes further unfurling in the orchestral panorama, which creates a cinematic backdrop for “Any Words You Say Won’t Be Enough”, where distorted vocals are smoothed with a guitar flight, but “Bad Inheritance (A Song To Cure)” binds the loose ends – reggae breaks, spoken word, massive choir, rocking sway – into an arresting finale. As shoegazing is banished from here, blessed are these thrills.