Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-02-16 00:17:31
This year I have really opened my eyes to Quebec artists and the latest is Claire Vezina with her fourth cd entitled Cyber Neptune treating us to her special blend of pop and rock. Vezina is an accomplished musician, the piano being her instrument of choice, but she also plays a little guitar on her new release. Vezina has been a part of the Quebec music scene since the early 80s when she toured with various bands. On the new album she is joined by a few guests including Marc-Andre Dube (bass) and Serge Poulin (drums and percussion). There are other guests as well, mostly contributing electric guitar. This is by no means full fledged progressive rock, in fact, this is the least progressive release I have heard from Unicorn Digital but there are undercurrents of progressiveness flowing here and there. There is no doubting the quality of the musicians involved in particular Vezina, who proves to be quite adept on keys. The music has an electronic atmosphere, thanks to the various keyboards used by Vezina, including Rhodes piano, Mellotron, organ, and the extensive use of loops. There is a dreamlike quality here, and the album does have a nice ebb and flow. The songs are mostly slow to mid tempo; heavy music this is not.
One of my favorite aspects of this disc are the unique vocals displayed by Vezina. At times sultry, other times wonderfully melodic, they give the disc an emotive quality that really draws the listener in. Her voice can be delicate and fragile to strong and intense, sometimes in the same song. I will not draw comparisons as to who the singer sounds like as I am at a loss to come up with any names. Suffice to say her voice is a real highlight.
Some of my personal favorites include "11h52" with lovely voicings ala "Great Gig in the Sky", although not near as dramatic, but having a similar effect and dreamlike keyboards and a tasty drumbeat that really grooves. "Soleil" starts out slowly with a steady wistful keyboard and nice percussion, with the guitars adding more crunch further along. The guitar and keyboards add just the right amount of texture to the song.
This cd sort of crept up on me the more I played it. There is a certain amount of sophistication here that I just cannot ignore. Anyone who enjoys female fronted rock bands such as Magenta or other artists like Kate Bush should give this one a try. Another fine artist to find a home with Unicorn Digital.