Band members Related acts
line-up 1 (1975-76)
- Richard Boisvert -- bass, keyboards
- Yves Lauzon -- lead guitar
- Daniel L' Ecuyer -- drums, percussion
- Jacques Rochon -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Jacques Rochon (solo efforts)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Company: Trans World
Country/State: Quebec, Canada
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
Catalog ID: 275
Best time to play: weekday evening when the kids have gone to bed, but you still have office work to do
Quebec's Av'nir is kind of interesting. Dealers have slapped the band's two albums with a progressive label, but anyone listening to their catalog, particularly the 1975 debut, is liable to come away confused since the overall sound is actually pretty AOR-inspired.
inner sleeve: left to right - Rouchon - Lauzon - Boisvert - L'Ecuyer
With a line-up showcasing bassist/keyboardist Richard Boisvert, lead guitarist Yves Lauzon, drummer Daniel L' Ecuyer, and singer/guitarist Jacques Rochon, in 1975 the band scored a recording contract with the Canadian Trans World label. Teamed with producer Gilles Valiquette, their self-titled 1975 debut mapped the band into a fairly commercial power-pop niche. They were clearly a talented outfit, with Rochon having a really nice voice, but judging by these ten tracks they didn't seem to have a clear idea of what musical direction they wanted to pursue. The funny thing is that virtually all of these tunes were worth hearing. Boisvert, Lauzon, and Rouson were all strong writers, each showing a knack for crafting catchy hooks. The funny thing is the band were actually at their best when playing straight-ahead rock ('Un Air Inconnu'), or diving fully into progressive mode ('Un Jour'). Whenever they tried to straddle genres the results turned bland.
Actually quite enjoyable with three tracks that I thought were wonderful, but lacking a single original note, or concept, unless you felt a real need to hear these basic AOR moves in French, I can't really give it an overwhelming recommendation.
"Av'nir" track listing:
1.) Le Gout D'Aimer (C. Desrosliers - Yves Lauzon) - 2:26 rating: *** stars
'Le Gout D'Aimer' started the album off with a surprisingly attractive slice of power pop. Kicked along by a giddy Yves Lauzon guitar riff and some nice vocal harmonies, to my ears it sounded a bit like a French Canadian version of Badfinger. Very radio friendly.
2.) Les Nouveaux Invites (Richard Boisvert) - 3:43 rating: *** stars
About all I can say is that f you'd slapped some English lyrics on 'Les Nouveaux Invites' you would have had a massive radio hit with mobs of Bon Jovi fans storming stores to pick up a copy.
3.) S'Arranger Pour Que Da Arrive (J. Laflagurais - Richard Boisvert - Yves Lauzon) - 2:37 rating: *** stars
A mid-tempo slice of AOR, 'S'Arranger Pour Que Da Arrive' had all the ingredients for radio success - nice melody, right mix of acoustic and electric guitar, catchy riff, and 'longing' vocals.
4.) Les Nuages Electriques (Richard Boisvert) - 4:17 rating: *** stars
Opening with some cheesy synthesizer and martial snare drum, 'Les Nuages Electriques' (I think it translated along the lines of 'Electric Clouds'), was a pretty enough ballad, but to my ears was another track that sounded a bit like a Quebec version of Bon Jovi. Pleasant and probably could have slotted into mid-'70s radio if the song had been outfited with a true hook rather than simply floating along with occasional thunderstorm sound effects.
5.) Le Malentendu (Richard Boisvert) - 7:17 rating: **** stars
'Le Malentendu' started out sounding like it was going to be a textbook bar band rocker, but unexpectedly introduced some oddball timings and structures into the mix and about halfway through became quite interesting when it took a sudden and unexpected detour into a pseudo-progressive, neighbohood. DItching the vocals, the song switched gears showcasing a dark and ominous vibe that was driven by Lauzon and Rouchon's twin fuzz guitars. Easily the side one highlight.
Opening up with some nice acoustic and electric guitar moves, and an instantly likeable melody, 'Un Air Inconnu' was probably the album's most commercially ready track (explaining why it was tapped as a single). The song also showcased Rochon's enjoyable voice. Another one that could have been a radio hit in the States had the band redone it with English lyrics. The song was tapped as the album;s second single:
- 1976's 'Un air inconnu' b/w 'Solitaire' (Trans World catalog number TI9-922)
2.) Les Commissaires (Jacques Rochon) - 3:43 rating: *** stars
'Les Commissaires' at least brushed up against the progressive genre, though in a very commercial fashion. The track actually sported one of the album's nicer and more memorable melodies.
3.) Rien N'A Change (C. Desrosliers - Yves Lauzon) - 2:27 rating: **** stars
Easily the album's best rocker, 'Rien N'A Change' (nothing ever changes), had everything needed for radio success - a crushing melody, excellent vocals (Rochon at his best), and energetic performances from the whole band. Fantastic radio rocker.
4.) Un Jour (Richard Boisvert) - 4:17 rating: *** stars
'Un Jour' was the album's most progressive oriented track in kind of a Kansas-styled (making it an odd choice for leas-off single). Musically it jumped all over the place with odd time signatures and I'll admit it took a couple of spins for the track to grow on me. The song was tapped as the first of two singles:
- 1976's 'Un jour' b/w 'Le goût d'aimer' (Trans World catalog number TI9-912)
5.) Solitaire (C. Desrosliers - Jacques Rochon) - 7:05 rating: *** stars
'Solitaire' was another pretty ballad, but differed a bit from the earlier numbers in that it included a touch of Celtic folk influences. rating: *** stars
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