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Monday, February 8, 2010


J'UN OEIL (1975)
320 KBPS

This stunning group from mid-Northern Quebec (the Chicoutimi region if I am not mistaken and therefore more likely to hang around Quebec than Montreal) is yet another one of relatively unknown groups that help Quebec's progressive rock revolution in the 70's. Mainly an instrumental jazz-rock group, but when actually using their vocal powers (both in scatting and in actual singing) , they actually reached peaks of beauty that makes you regret this quintet did not sing more. To describe Sloche's sound accurately, you would have to imagine a cross of Maneige's middle period with Opus-5's Contre-Courant album, but if you are not familiar with Quebec's scene, this will be tougher to describe, but this fusion of jazz rock, and classical influence is relatively unique and grabs you by your soft side no matter how thick your shell might be. These guys were incredibly tight-playing and were obviously well collaborating with each other as the songwriting is fairly well-shared (a track each except for drummer Chiasson giving space to bassist Hebert a second track) and the sound is still quite up to date some 30 years later.
From the first spacey ringings of the 9-min Pas Fin Du Monde to the last drop of Potage Aux Herbes Douteuses ("Shady" Herbal Soup ;-), every single second is pure heaven with opening track setting an incredible standard with its great scat-vocals (reminding a bit Wishbone Ash during the Argus album) and its middle section almost stopping as if the End Of The World had reached us without a proper warning, but it is a false alert and the tracks picks up in a funkier manner. Closing up the first side is the 11-min Kareme D'Eros and its lengthy piano intro (there are two KB players in the group), where the group shows us that they can be quite impressive in singing (not just scatting) with its text and harmonies being incredibly close to Ripaille's sole album, some Martin Circus or a much better Ange. If you can imagine a cross-over of jazz-rock with Yes, you might just be able to have an idea of how the track is closing.
The second side starts on the superb (but much shorter) title track, which is also sung, while the much funkier Algebrique (Gentle Giant meeting Mahavishnu Orchestra-sounding and penned by guitarist Bérard) is almost reaching discordance, but this track is almost too technical for its own good. Closing track Potage Aux Herbes Douteuses renews with the scatting harmonies as if to bring you back in full circle to the lead-off track. Another strong pleaser, one wishes this second side of the vinyl to be slightly longer to have developed some ideas a bit further.
While Sloche only recorded two albums, these guys excelled in their craft and were a typical example of what La Belle Province had to offer in the second part of the 70's. As equally superb (but vastly different at will also) as Maneige, Conventum or Opus-5, Sloche is one of those groups that must be investigate by every proghead, dead ort alive.

1. C'pas la fin du Monde
2. Le Karême D'Eros
3. J'un Oeil
4. Algébrique
5. Potage Aux Herbes Douteuses

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ok - never heard of this band until your last posting. I think they're great. Can't wait to hear this recording. Thanks so much.