After taking a four-year break to spend more time with their families, the members of Quebec country-pop quartet Kain return with their fourth studio album, Le Vrai Monde, to pick up where 2007's Les Saisons S'Tassent left off. Produced by Pierre Duchesne (Richard Séguin, Kevin Parent), the majority of its 12 tracks stick to its predecessor's formula of driving beats, steel pedal guitar twangs, and gentle soft rock harmonies, interspersed with the occasional flourishes of harmonica as on the slightly melancholic "L'Ame du Bohemien," the ukulele on the Jack Johnson-esque beachside pop of "La Tete en l'Air," and the folky violins on the '70s-tinged Americana of "En Attendant Qu'le Facteur Passe." While the melodic ode to unity of opener "Si On Se T'nait," the gently strummed nostalgia of "Le Bon Vieux Temps," and the acoustic balladry of the title track all provide perfectly pleasant, if unspectacular, slices of Nashville-infused pop, the album only really commands attention when it moves out of second gear. "Mauvaise Influence" is a convincing attempt at muddy blues-rock that sees frontman Steve Veilleux at his most impassioned on a satirical attack against celebrity culture, while "La Pedale au Plancher" reflects the urgency of its title (Pedal to the Floor) with its surging rhythms, low-slung basslines, and unexpected punk rock riffs. It's a shame that Kain couldn't have pursued this punchier direction a little further, as while Le Vrai Monde's "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach is likely to be welcomed with open arms by the band's fans, it's just a little too bland to make an impression on any potential new converts.
Le Vrai Monde Review
by Jon O'Brien