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De Temps Antan

Ce Monde Ici-Bas

(L-Abe; US: 24 Sep 2013; UK: 24 Sep 2013)

Honkytonk Québécois folklore with lots of stomp from three former members of the lovely La Bottine Souriante. Éric Beaudry plays the plucked strings (guitar, bouzouki, mandolin), André Brunet plays fiddle, and Pierre-Luc Dupuis gets a silvery, sawing, sea shantyish sound out of his accordion. The mouth harp comes out as does the harmonica and everything rocks until track three, “Adieu Donc Cher Coer”, when a woman who is credited only as Jorane starts to sing vowel sounds, “Aa, ooo,” and we’re suddenly missing our loved ones. The album cools down with a forcefulness that seems programmatic and even Puritan, as if someone has decided that the stomp has to pay for its sins. “Two louds, one soft,” they’re saying to themselves. “Include a bit of everything, put in that valse, and don’t forget the traditional call and response on “Méli-Mélo”.” Sometimes I wish these folk albums—not only the Québécois ones but also international Celtic in general—would not be so measured so often, and more often say, “We love a fat valse and to hell with the audience, we’re going to do an entire album of them. We’re going to ride the valse to death.” I know some of them do.  The uniting factor here, aside from the source of the music, is a twang that must have ridden across the border from countryland, USA.

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