Monday, April 14, 2008


This is one of those posts that I’ve spent days thinking about – a review of Karkwa’s latest album, Le volume du vent. I was so excited that I hunted this album down on the very day it came out. And for those of you who have ever tried to find French music in Toronto, it’s no simple task. Meaning that the victorious moment when I finally got my hands on it might have been accompanied by an embarrassing little dance (apologies to the startled HMV employee who witnessed it).

As I’ve mentioned before in the CMW post, Karkwa is a French band from Montreal, one of my favourites. Often dubbed the “French Radiohead”, their brand of rock is truly innovative on the Quebec scene. While their success is relatively new, these guys have been around for a decade. Le volume du vent is their third album and probably their most epic and complex, although each album has had its charm. And if they’re going to maintain the Radiohead comparison, they’re going to have to keep going with constant reinvention. And “pay-what-you-want” type album sales would also be cool, please and thank you.

What to expect: intricate instrumental layering accompanied by lead singer Louis-Jean Cormier’s incredibly versatile vocal stylings. Though I must mention that unlike Thom Yorke, Cormier actually enunciates. Le compteur, a collaboration with Patrick Watson, mixes distant piano, rolling drums and crescendo vocals to give the song a stormy quality, if that even makes sense. Échapper au sort lingers with an amazing drawn-out bridge and a chilling message (see video below), while Le frimas is a short interlude mixing glockenspiel, vibraphone and piano to produce an eerie movie-score type feel. The whole package also mixes in social commentary and smart lyrics, though understanding the message is not that essential to the enjoyment of this album (a note to all of you who are francophonically challenged).

Point being, they are fantastic, please have a taste and go seek out Le volume du vent.

If you're hooked and interested in some of their older stuff, try going here, or even here.

xo, g3.

Karkwa - Oublie pas
Karkwa - Combien


Sly said...

Too bad I miss that embarrassing little dance...

Anonymous said...

Check it out!