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Maneige: Libre Service – Self Service

Maneige's 4th full length release called Libre Service – Self Service in 1978 was at least as the title suggests, with an English translation, largely an attempt for the French band from Québec to break into Canada's English speaking market. Libre Service also marked even further tweakings in the band's overall sound as they shifted towards more of a jazzier sound but while still maintaining their classical and progressive roots. The move paid off as the band managed to break out of Québec with a twenty city coast to coast Canadian tour later that same year.

The bands sound on Libre Service is even tighter and the songs more compact than previous album ni vent… ni nouvelle, as the tracks again are shortened considerably, which was probably done intentionally in an effort to garner the band some radio airplay. Either way this is not bad thing as the band was still talented enough to cram some serious playing into these shorter cuts. The songs may have had a bid more polish and shine to them than on previous efforts but Libre Service finds the band continuing to develop their sound and search for new ideas. The flute sounds of reedman Alain Bergeron still primarily dominates the groups sound along with Vincent Lânglois' superb work on the keys. Maneige were also blessed with a fantastic rhythm section in bassist Yvés Leonard, drummer Gilles Schetagne and percussionist Paul Picard and they lay down some real tasty Latin percussion throughout the album. The tracks on Libre Service are more keyboard orientated, perhaps a result of the more commercial leanings and as a result guitarist Denis Lapierre is relegated to the background more often than not save for a few brief moments on tracks like "Les pétoncles", "La Noce" and "Toujours trop tard" where he gets to burn a little bit. This is a worthy re-release from the guys at the ProgQuébec label and once again the last 3 songs are live tracks taken from the bands 1979 release called Composite. Check out the very cool percussion workout on the track "CanCan" and some spacey synth and frenetic sax work on "L'éveil et l'approche". Even though Libre Service has a more polished and commercial feel, it's a very solid album and while not the bands best effort I highly recommend it.

Track Listing
1) Troizix
2) L'envol des singes latins
3) Les pétoncles
4) La Belle et La Bête
5) Bagdad
6) Noémi
7) Célébration
8) La Noce
9) Toujours trop tard
10) Miro Vibro
11) CanCan (live)
12) L'éveil et l'approche (live)
13) Toujours trop tard (live)

Added: April 30th 2006
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Official Record Label
Hits: 3156
Language: english

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