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Sagapool | Sagapool

album review by Kate Risi


The easiest way to describe Sagapool’s new album is simply beautiful. The melodies are playful and they build on themselves gracefully, culminating in a record that’s part roots, part jazz and completely reminiscent of a more romantic time.

Originally from Montreal, bandmates Luzio Altobelli, Guillame Bourque, Alexis Dumais, Zoé Dumais, Dany Nicolas, and Marton Maderspach integrate accordion, drum, double bass, clarinet, piano, Rhodes, violin, banjo, and even the glockenspiel, to create a musical conversation without ever saying a word.

Their newly released self-titled album begins with “45.56°N 73.58°O -90°N”, marking the beginning of a musical journey that continues throughout each song that follows. Melancholy and tragic, the song evokes emotion in an almost movie score-esque way. With a soft sound that seems effortless but also driven, it’s hard not to let one’s imagination run wild.

“Coeur d’Aiguille” continues the album in the same vein, allowing the mind to wander to rainy days and an empty city. I find myself wanting to describe the music not by the sounds I hear, but the emotions and scenery each song conjures in my imagination.

“Le Vent des Iles” is arguably one of the more lively and energetic of the songs on the album. In my mind, it sets the scene of a big-top circus fully in motion, elephants parading and girls delicately descending from the ceiling by only a ribbon…

As the album continues, the songs grow in energy and complexity. In “Marcel”, the band integrates everything from the voices of young children singing and laughing to what sounds like a drill, creating a song that is full of life. Each song following takes on a more complicated rhythm, feeling almost frantic at times, but only in the best of ways.

The album begins to slow down again with “Entracte”, the energy steps back and it’s like the moment after a great party when you close the door behind the last guest; there is happiness, a little exhaustion, and a sense of peace.

“Mon Cousin Joue du Synthe”, finishes the album on a high note. Incorporating beat boxing, sirens, snapping, and even some whistling, it’s definitely the most contemporary and jazz influenced song on the record. The end of the song fades out in such a way that the musical journey comes full circle and the album feels complete.

Bottom line: Gorgeous and expertly woven melodies create an album that’s full of both great music and playful storytelling. As the French, or French Canadians, might say, “Cette musique est belle.”


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