Michel Faubert

Carême et Mardi Gras

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Because it is scattered all around the room, Carême et Mardi Gras is less striking than Michel Faubert's other albums. Not that it is bad or even weaker, but the ever-shifting artistic intentions and roster of guest musicians make it impossible to settle into a single listening mood. There's a bit of a cappella serenade, a few avant-trad rock attempts, traditional songs, and Faubert's own compositions. This album summarizes the singer-ethnologist's career up to that point. The main backup band is André Duchesne's avant rock group, Locomotive. Add to that La Bottine Souriante's frontman, Yves Lambert, sharing lead singer duties on the title track, the Québec folk a cappella quintet les Charbonniers de l'Enfer, the avant fanfare band L'Orkestre des Pas Perdus, and Michel Langevin, drummer for the metal group Voïvod, driving the hard-rocker "Sabbatique." Definitely a studio affair, the album suffers a bit from over-production and too many ideas. In comparison, the intimate mood of L'Écho des Bois and thematic unity of L'Âme Qui Sortait par la Bouche du Conteur work better. That said, Carême et Mardi Gras remains Faubert's easier record, thanks to a couple of almost straightforward rock songs, and thus makes a good entry point into his world of old tales and modern sounds.

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