This album is the result of a collaboration between singer/accordionist Lou Babin, singer Marie-Hélène Montpetit, pianist Pierre St-Jak, and bassist Normand Guilbeault. Some of these songs had been written 15 years ago but finally found here a suitable context for release. The chamber jazz instrumentation provides the perfect atmosphere for this "Hotel at the End of the World." Babin had been an important part of the left-center music scene in Montreal for two decades but had yet to be heard in a satisfying project giving her enough room to stretch. This is the one. Her voice alternates with Montpetit's, each one delivering a seductive performance. The lyrics evoke dreamy desperation ("Un Homme à la Mer," "Bye Johnny") and death as the ineluctable and almost reassuring end of all things. Claude Fradette adds some of his atmospheric guitars here and there, Pierre Tanguay brings some light percussion work, and Christine Molnar and Guido Del Fabbro a persistent violin touch. The latter (of the Fanfare Pourpour and Rouge Ciel) is particularly impressive. Surprisingly quiet and easy listening, L'Hôtel du Bout de la Terre aims for the artistic song without making complexity or avant-gardism a requisite, the clash between the fleece-lined music and the lyrics bringing just enough strangeness to set it apart.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture