The moose got a little preoccupied with the festival season last summer and didn’t have a chance to write about a bunch of the releases that came out in the lead up to it, so I’m going to try and make up for my tardiness by highlighting some great new(ish) music on weeks when none of the more recent arrivals in the inbox are jumping out at me. And let’s face it, it’s the start of the year. There’s not much new in the inbox yet.
So let me start by offering some long overdue acknowledgment to Le Diable à Cinq, the Juno and Felix-nominated QueTrad ensemble who released their third album, Tempete, in May.
Heirs to the tradition of high-energy, genre-defining neo trad established by La Bottine Souriante and carried forth by acts like Le Vent du Nord and Genticorum, the members of Le Diable play with the precision of classical musicians and the intensity of rock n’ rollers. Their harmonies are spot on, their arrangements just daring enough to stand out from the crowd, and their energy is through the roof.
The songs, which are nearly all original, are uniformly killer, but for my liking, the highlights include “Richer #44,” a lightning fast tribute to NHL great Stéphane Richer complete with the sounds of play-by-play and the crowd cheering him on; “Suite Labelle, a slightly darker, mostly instrumental number that closes with a cheerful chorus of vocalizations; and “Le dernier pétale,” a slower, classically-tinged track.
It’s an album that captures the unrestrained party vibe of Quebecois trad music better than possibly any other QueTrad album that wasn’t actually recorded in front of an audience.
So I’m sorry to not have told you about it sooner.
On the plus side, if you’re going to listen to an album whose title translates as “storm,” winter is really the time to do it. This will sound great with a fireplace and a spiked hot chocolate.