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Harmonium - Harmonium CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.63 | 205 ratings

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4 stars The self-titled debut album from French Canadian ( Quebec) progressive rock act Harmonium was released in 1974. Lead vocalist and guitarist Serge Fiori met Guitarist/ vocalist Michel Normandeau at a theatre music meeting in 1973 and later that same year they met bassist/ vocalist Louis Valois and they formed Harmonium.

The music on Harmonium play on this debut album is light jazzy and folky pop/ rock with progressive elements. Outstanding and beautiful vocal melodies ( and harmonies) are the main focus in the music. The music is mostly acoustic guitar driven and the two guitarists and the bassist compliment each other in an excellent fashion. There are very little drumming on the album. Besides the very simple basic instrumentation there are also occassional moments where flute, accordion, electric piano, Flugelhorn and zither harp ( whatever that is?) are present in the music. Those little changes are great for the diversity of the music.

The lyrics are in French and Harmonium really make me wish I could understand more French than I do. It doesnīt ruin the music for me that I donīt understand a word ( well a few but not enough to get the meaning), but I can understand if others feel itīs a problem. I might be missing the last dimension in the music because of my lack of French language knowledge but the music is so great it doesnīt feel like a loss. As always itīs an aquired taste if you can enjoy lyrics sung in other languages than English though.

The songs are all pretty simple but beautiful and at times even moving. At least thatīs my personal reaction when I listen to the album. Songs like Harmonium, Vielles Courroies and Un musicien Parmi tant d'Autres really touches me and gives me special feeling of joy. The CD version has an extra track called 100,000 raisons which is not the best song on the album but still a welcome addition. Itīs not that the music is especially challenging and on initial listen I wasnīt as happy about the album as I am today. I found it to be a pretty simple pop/ rock album. I gave it the neccessary spins though and it has payed off. The more I listen the more I enjoy the Genesis like guitars and the beautiful vocal melodies/ harmonies that makes Harmoniumīs music so special.

The musicianship is excellent. Both the instrumental side of the music and especially the vocals are very well executed. Serge Fiori has a beautiful voice. He can be both deeply emotional and good humoured which is a great quality IMO.

The production is outstanding IMO. The guitar sound is so clean. One of the best acoustic guitar sounds I have ever heard on an album. Just beautiful. The sound is generally warm and pleasant. Iīve been really pleasantly surprised by this debut from Harmonium and if the music on this album is any indication of whatīs in store on their second and most known album Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquičme Saison ( 1975) I think Iīm in for a real treat with that one. This album fully deserves a 4 star rating from me.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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