(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
In writing this review, I’m having great difficulty coming up with words to properly describe how utterly wonderful these Contraction CDs are. It’s even hard to pinpoint a specific genre to place them in to give the reader an idea of how they sound. The term “progressive rock” just seems so inadequate to describe the music but for lack of something better, I guess I’ll stick with that. It’s not exactly symphonic or jazzy or even that unusual from much of the “soft rock” music that was coming out in the early 70s but there are elements that just make the Quebecois band something very special indeed.
One of the first elements to become noticeable is the exquisite voice of Christiane Robichaud. Her voice just melts my knees. She has the singing ability of someone like Kate Bush or Annie Haslam and the sultriness of Annette Peacock. The lyrics are sung in French and I’ve heard that there is an English version of the debut album floating around somewhere. I just can’t imagine who’d think the vocals on here would sound better sung in English. That’s just downright blasphemous.
For the most part, the music is mainly lead by the beautiful piano work of Robert Lachapelle but all the musicians on the album play very well. Bassist Yves Laferrière writes most of the melodies and the flute playing from Carlyle Miller is also quite memorable. There are several guitarists, drummers and other players that fill out the rest of the tracks. I don’t want you to think I’m skimming over anyone, they all contribute something interesting to the overall sound. The last four tracks on the album are mostly instrumental and showcase this talented band very well.
Humble thanks must be given to the fine folks of the ProgQuebec label for the incredible job they’ve done with the remastering and release of this album and several others like it. Hopefully they can keep this going for many years to come. There are some real gems yet to be released from this Canadian province so rich in musical heritage.