L' Amour Est un Sentiment

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Released seven years after Motocross' self-produced debut Main-d'Oeuvre, L'Amour Est un Sentiment doesn't make the mark in terms of sound quality. What it does, however, is spell out the injustice: a group this talented should be able to find the means to record an album its members could be proud of. Motocross plays a fine concoction of complex avant-garde jazz that seems to draw equal inspiration from vintage fire music and Jean Derome's own take on busy, whimsical group playing with his outfit Dangereux Zhoms. But there's also a touch of calypso and even a few lessons learned from the pioneering jazz-rock group Maneige's first albums. Any given track can start with a groovy fusion riff, take a right turn to land a kitsch-dripping melody and end with a furious collective improvisation. The twin saxophones of Guy Girouard and Gilles Sirois front the band. Their interplay accounts for most of the excitement, especially in "De la Statique" and "Sauce Blanche." Bassist Samuel Roy Bois is a mean musician, always on the run, and a solid composer. Drummer Mathieu Doyon does a convincing job, but on more than half of the tracks his drums are badly mic'ed and mixed. The few tracks recorded with Steeve Lebrasseur in the studio of the sound art collective Avatar pair creativity in recording techniques with a good sound quality, but the live tracks sound flat and amateurish. The group crosses the line on the last track, "Récepteur," a good tune but obviously a basement tape with horrible sound (it may remind you of Van der Graaf Generator's awful Time Vaults, a lousy excuse for an album of archival material). Please oh please would somebody give these guys some studio time to record the kick-ass record they deserve?

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