This Esmerine article was written by Samantha Melrose, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Michael Liggins. Header photo by Brigitte Henry
‘Lost Voices’ is the fifth album to be released by Montreal based chamber rock group Esmerine; following their 2013 Juno award-winning album ‘Dalmak’. Band members Bruce Cawdron (drums), Beckie Foon (cello), Jamie Thompson (percussion) and Brian Sanderson (multi-instrumentalist) have recently been joined by bassist Jeremi Roy who has been touring with the group since 2013. The addition of the double bass adds a weightier depth to the album.
This charismatic nine track album experiments with a broader range of instruments; marimba, electric guitar, piano, harmoniums, establishing a totally unique soundscape. The group embraces a multitude of genres and avenues within ‘Lost Voices’ that they haven’t previously explored in their earlier albums. While Esmerine’s hypnotic ambience continues with this album, they also turn towards rock music; however with a reserved edge, threatening to fully unleash the rock dominance but never quite getting there.
There’s something synthetic about the group’s new sound conversing between genres that are paradoxical. While always feeling just slightly on edge, the group also create a sense of stability within their music. The absence of vocals insist on the full, undivided attention of the listener; requiring a more instinctive engagement. Even the artwork announces the tranquil ambience that ‘Lost Voices’ projects.
Concluding with ‘Lullaby for Nola’, this exquisite track takes the listener to a place of pure serenity. The combination of the piano, conceives a delicate and flawless quasi-lullaby track.
Overall this album demonstrates moments of cinematic beauty and a reminiscent depth. It can, occasionally seem too indulgent, lacking the forward movement and sense of progression that is required for this type of music; to give it a sense of development. However, with moments of pure introspective sobriety juxtaposed against the dominance of the rock influence, Esmerine provide an album that is truly unique.
‘Lost Voices’ is out now via Constellation Records.