This being a music recommendation site I would be committing a great horrible sin by not recommending this album. That being said I will be the first to admit that this is not the most uncommon of albums. That being said I will say what needs to be said. It’s outstanding. Note for note, cut for cut. Not a second of this album goes by without me being in the happiest of inner places. Now I know what you’re saying. “Hey, Paul, that’s great! Really! It’s rather sweet that you get emotionally aroused by this album. I really feel for ya. But I’ve never heard of this Harmonium before. Would you care to shed some light on them?” I will reply by ending the current paragraph I’m typing and start a new one which will give you a bit of back information about the band in question.
Ah! Welcome to the second paragraph. Let me tell you about this adorable little French trio. First of all, they’re Canadian. French Canadian to be specific. They began their life in 1974 with a quite charming debut folk album. Well, Folk with major Prog tendencies. When they went into recording studio for their second album, they decided to take the beauty of pastoral folk of the first album and add even more Prog flavour to the mix. This was Quebec in the mid-70s after all! Vive la poutine libre! The result is one of the most beautiful albums I have ever had the pleasure of listening to in my life.
Acoustic guitars. Like them? You’ll love this. Like your acoustic guitars with just the right amout of added woodwinds (flutes etc…) and soaring majestic mellotron? You will be in heaven! It’s charming! It’s beautiful! It’s relaxing! It’s catchy! It’s melodic! It’s emotional! AH! Exclamation marks everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE this album.
You know you’re in a good place when you hear opening flutes of the first track Vert. It adds just the right symphonic tone to be joined in perfect harmony (HARMONIUM) with the acoustic guitars that shall join in late. When you hear the vocal harmonies enter you’ll know exactly what this band is all about. Did I mention they sing in French? Beautiful. The second track is the black sheep of the album. Dixie is a sort of beautiful folky ragtime-ish dancing number. It’s still as charming and beautiful and catchy as anything on the album, it just kind of stands out compared to the rest. The clarinet solo is a nice touch and also adds to the unique feel of the song.
Depuis L’Automne stands out as my personal favourite track. It has two main parts divided by an ambient midsection. The moods and melodies created during the 10 minute length of the song will have you in tears. The final motive in the song, the part that goes "Si c't'un rêve réveille-moi donc/Ça va être notre tout ça sera pas long/Reste par icitte parce que ça s'en vient" WOW! Powerful! It builds and builds and repeats this wonderful melody until it explodes in an orgasmic mellotron blast! Can it get any better?
That was a rhetorical question…some how… Either way, YES it can get better. The Epic Histoires Sans Paroles, clocking in at just over 17 minutes, is so good I’m not going to even bother explaining it here. Go out and buy this album already and hear for yourself. Vive L’Harmonium! Vive forever man! This album is perfection.