Friday, October 20, 2006

Opus-5 {Canada}(Quebecois fusion)

As the progressive movement was making more and more adept in La Belle Province, more and more groups got contracts and as Celebration record lost Harmonium to CBS , they offered a contract to OPUS-5 . This band can be seen as a good cross in between HARMONIUM and MANEIGE or SLOCHE. Some GENTLE GIANT and JETHRO TULL influences are also evident. Their first album is full of delicious melodies with soft yet incisive vocals and great flute passages all on 5 superb compositions by five superb musicians. Unfortunately , their record label went bankrupt just as the recording of their second album was finished . That album will have to wait until 89 to see the light of day. Part of the band will form CONCERT that will release one album in 60 as the disco tsunami had swept everything in that part of Canada.

Opus-5 can be highly recommended to fans of the above-mentioned bands but also everyone who enjoy calm folkish fusion.(Hugues Chantraine)

''Volume 1: Contre Courant''[1975]@192
The title says it all Contre Courant - against the flow (mainstream).

“Contre-Courant” is a very expressive album with all 5 members adding vocalization throughout and is delivered with great emotion. Quite different than other Quebecois band but just as incisive in contents , here the singing is of crystal- clear French without the typically local accent and it is refreshing, but it does take some mastering of the languages to fully grasp how good this album is. Those texts on top of it are politically engaged, mind-challenging, thought-provoking, environementally-conscious and socially oriented. The music is accompanying such superb vocals and texts is in the same vein: Food for thoughts. Just like your cereal breakfast (and just as indispensible as that first meal) it just crackles, snaps and rocks and will nourish your body and feed your brains so well that even your asshole boss cannot screw-up your day.

Mosts of the numbers present long instrumental passages only slightly interrupted by very on-the-dot lyrics (Les Saigneurs instead of Seigneurs). Absolutely 100% essential.

''Volume 2: Serioux Ou Pas''[1989]@192
Opus-5 's second album has an unfinihed feel to it and also an odds & ends touch. This is quite normal knowing that their record label Celebration (Harmonium had released their first two albums on that label) went bankrupt during the recording of this second album, so the recording got abruptly stopped , probably got seized as asset in the bankruptcy and this might explain why this did not get released until the very late 80's and probably released with not too much production job other than what was on tape at the time. I don't know for sure the exactitude of my reasoning but I must not be far from the truth.

Serieux Ou Pas has much shorter numbers than Contre Courant and while it has some very good moments, it does not have any epic of the style of Les Saigneurs or Temps des Piussenlits. Some of the numbers (the two super short numbers) were apparently recorded as inside jokes - probably not meant to be released (see my remark on the production) but those are not able to hide some of the more brilliant numbers that brings back memories from their debut. I may embroider the facts but I would like to trhink that some of these numbers were meant to be assembled together to make some longer tracks in the spirit of their first album.(reviewed by Hugues Chantraine)

links in comments.


EelaFree said...

VOlume 1: Contre Courant

EelaFree said...

Volume 2: Serioux Ou Pas

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