Richard Addison—formerly the bassist with Canadian rockers Mystery—is branching out, and with his old guitar-wrangling chum, Michel St-Père, he's enlisted a motley crew of crackerjack players, some of who doubtlessly were closet jazzers during their rockin' days. Mood Swings plays like emotional blackjack: you never know which card may fall next. While there's no fear of being sent to the cleaners by listening to this album of polished jazz-rock, there is an utmost air of adventure. Richard Addison's basslines cross many niches from rock to jazz to funk to blues; he and his drummer-ace, Stéphane Crytes, are the only ones who appear entirely throughout. And, like his counterpart in Spaced Out, Antoine Fafard, Addison does a good deal of programming, owning up to much of the quirky, arpeggiatic flashes of synthetic timbre & FX.
Kickoff piece "Sleepwalking" is a transplanted prog-rock cut with the vocals stripped away and a sax & xylo-synth duologue superimposed over the limber drumming and a rather traditional structure. Curiously-titled, "The Muffin" may or may not be an ode to a legendary American jazz-rock outfit, but pianist Luc Aubry's Rhodes line isn't above suspicion. Philippe Lauzier's alto sax solo is cut like a diamond, upstaging Éric St-Laurent's jagged electric guitar solo. "Montée De Lait" is chord-driven rock that crushes a serious groove over Addison's quasi-funk bass and what must be a series of guitar-synth solos (Aubry handles synths, but not on this cut). David Gauthier's electric guitar lead cuts swaths in the mix as if with a sword on "Le Grand-Bé (Wrath Of Châteaubriand)," a track that brings in additional electronic drumming courtesy of Mario Di Blasio.
"Mceuet" is a shortish number anchored by a repetitious staccato motif actualized by sax & guitar. Addison's bass line rumbles along like Stanley Clarke supporting a George Duke comp. Gauthier's and Éric St-Laurent's overlaid chordings bring the tandem of Djam Karet's Mike Henderson & Gayle Ellett to mind, sans the psych underpinnings. The initial verses on "After All (Demon's Dance)" are akin to one of Kenso's more straight-grooved numbers, while the followup sections take off like crazed jaunts into Weather Report territory. Interestingly, the payoff comes in the final two compositions on Mood Swings. "10h10" is hands-down the album's best upbeat piece, and features plenty of Pontyesque soloing by violinist Robin Boulianne. The eight-minute trio piece, "Controlled Freedom," is a diametrically-opposed, older introspect composition with no guitars and a surprising conclusion. An older gent by the name of Pierre Nadeau replaces Aubry on piano, and tenor sax'ist Dany Roy steps in (Lauzier is present, but only performs the intro).
Mood Swings is another great fusion release from Unicorn Records (the label that's home to Spaced Out, for one). Mucho sax and guitar interplay, along with deep bass grooves, make this disc a clincher for Weather Report phreeks and all-around fusionuts, though there is less of a focus on keyboard leads.