It took four years for the Montréal-based prog rock band Visible Wind to cook a follow-up to Narcissus Goes to the Moon. The enigmatically titled Barb-a-Baal-a-Loo, the band's fifth album, was released on the Québec City label Ipso Facto. The quartet has now become a quintet with the addition of a second guitarist, Phil Woolgar. The band's sound consequently follows a raunchier path. The increased importance of guitars allows Stephen Geysens to let go of his keyboards more often to pick up his flute, a welcomed change. Pieces are generally more concise, punchier, and more song-oriented. Occasional ballads ("Qui Sème le Vent...," "Freed Again") give the album a more "general public" feeling. Prog rock fans will find their fixes in "Vladivostok" and "Neanderthal," but attempts to find something comparable to "The Awakening" (on Narcissus) are doomed to fail. "The Healer" even comes very close to heavy metal, but the best comparison still remains the Flower Kings. Geysens articulates more on this release, a plus in his case, but there are more songs (almost half of them) in French than the usual one or two. Barb-a-Baal-a-Loo is not Visible Wind's best effort.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture