Between joie de vivre and gay pride - A review of Les Trois Accords' ''Joie d'être gai''
The fact that French-Canadian crossover band Les Trois Accords releases a new studio record has become a triennial event in Quebec. The quartet from Drummondville continues to have a large fan base thanks to its unique mixture of traditional rock music, tight punk rock, catchy pop music and a healthy dose of country music. The cherry on top of the cake is the humorous lyrics of the band with hilarious topics, original plays on words and weird figures of speech. Musically, the band sounds like a mixture of The Beatles, Johnny Cash and Weezer. Lyrically, it’s more a combination of diverse French-Canadian comedians like Louis-José Houde, Paul & Paul and Mike Ward.
The band’s sixth studio album is no exception. The album title is already a play on words and can be interpreted as a tribute to the French expression joie de vivre or as a nod to the gay pride movement. The cover artwork is exaggerated on purpose and features a dolphin and a unicorn dancing under a rainbow in a purple sky filled with numerous stars.
The title track and opener ‘’Joie d’être gai’’ is by far the best song on the new record in my book. It’s a joyous and uplifting tune with a catchy chorus and funny lyrics on one side. No matter how hard you try, you will end up singing along to the chorus despite its ridicolous lyrics and because of its pithy simplicity. On the other side, it’s also the heaviest tune on the album and features both alternative rock and grunge influences. It’s the kind of track that makes you want to sing and move along right from the start. The visual concept of the cover artwork comes back in ‘’Les dauphins et les licornes’’ which turns out to be the most surprising tune on the album. It’s a calm, introspective and sad track that meanders between depressive and hopeful tones and lyrics in a surprisingly mature way. Still, some of the lyrics manage to put a smile on your face. This song feels like a complex tragicomedy summarized in just five minutes and is probably the band’s most ambitious track so far.
The rest of the album can’t keep up with these two tracks. Still, there are a few recommendable tunes on the output. The entertaining ‘’Top bronzés’’ tells a humorous story in a truly funny way and can be cited as an album highlight. ‘’Saint-Bruno (Nuit de la poésie III)’’ is a follow-up of ‘’C’était magique’’ from the similarly sounding previous release J’aime ta grand-mère and ‘’Nuit de la poésie’’ from the diversified career highlight Dans mon corps. While the track is energizing and memorable and has a similar style to the two predecessors, the concept starts getting a little bit repetitive. It’s still a good song but I also hope it’s the last of the series.
The other tracks are of an average quality at best and offer charming but slightly dated pop punk with silly lyrics that might make you laugh at first contact but that soon turn out to be forgettable. There is no real stinker on the record but the fact that more than half of the tunes are somewhat exchangeable standard material really hurts on an extremely short release of just thirty-four minutes.
In the end, faithful fans of the band should purchase this output while occasional listeners can save almost twenty bucks by just downloading the tracks ‘’Joie d’être gai’’ and ‘’Les dauphins et les licornes’’. Another option would be to simply go see the band in concert for one hour and a half for almost the same price since the band will be touring the belle province early next year. The inevitable future live album or a greatest hits compilation at a certain point might be other options for patient customers and an alternative to this short good average product. In the end, Joie d’être gai is still an entertaining release but lacks consistency and turns out being the band’s weakest studio output so far.
Final rating: 6,5/10
Les Trois Accords will be on tour at the following locations:
30/01/16 Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (Cabaret-Théâtre du Vieux-St-Jean)
27/02/16 Saint-Eustache (Le Zénith)
04/03/16 Beloeil (Centre culturel)
12/03/16 Saint-Jérôme (Salle André-Prévost)
17/03/16 L'Assomption (Théâtre Hector-Charland)
19/03/16 Brossard (Le Club Dix30)
31/03/16 Sherbrooke (Théâtre Granada)
02/04/16 Sainte-Geneviève (Salle Pauline-Julien)
08/04/16 Saint-Prime (Vieux Couvent)
15/04/16 Chicoutimi (Cabaret La Saguenéenne)
06/05/16 Trois-Rivières (Théâtre du Cégep de Trois-Rivières)
20/05/16 Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts (Théâtre Le Patriote)« Between joie de vivre and gay pride - A review of Les Trois Accords' ''Joie d'être gai''First snow in Gatineau »
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