Above the Storm qualifies as Daniel Gauthier's first CD, even though a prior one, En Ce Jour et Pour Toujours, was released privately in 1998. The Sherbrooke (Québec, Canada) multi-instrumentalist delivered a very mature work, but then again he was no newcomer. His work in Yes tribute bands shows throughout the album, as much in his precise Rickenbacker bass playing as in his writing. Lyrics revolve around love and mankind's rise to a better existence. Melodies often evoke Jon Anderson's phrasing and vocal range, although Gauthier is not gifted with a voice as warm. His would be closer to Chris Squire's, lacking some body but still managing to captivate. Gauthier sings in English with a strong Québecois accent -- some listeners will not forgive him for that. The music is lush, delicate progressive rock in the manner of Yes, of course, but also Eloy and the Flower Kings. On this album, Gauthier handles acoustic guitar, keyboards, bass, and vocals. He recruited blues rock guitarist Gaston Gagnon (who played for a while with Plume Latraverse, a famous countercultural Québecois singer/songwriter) and drummer Bruno Dubé. Highlights include the rocking "Empty Space," the fantastic bassline that serves as the main theme of "Evening of a New Romance," the instrumental "Quartet Solo" (with convincing work by Gagnon), and the 18-minute epic "Cross the Bridge," where the similarities with Eloy become the strongest (even though Gauthier had yet hear Frank Bonnermann's group at the time of this recording). Produced with a small budget, Above the Storm is supported by a very impressive sound quality. Recommended to lovers of light but intelligent progressive rock.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture