Deep Rivers: progressive melancholy ★★★ ½

While Laurence Nerbonne took a noticeable electropop turn, her former colleagues at Hôtel Morphée for their part refined their rock formula to launch the Deep Rivers project, which until now had given birth to only one EP, Part One, published almost four years ago. With their new album Nothing Ever Happens to Me, André Pelletier, Blaise Borboën-Léonard and Stéphan Lemieux are back in the saddle with a frankly well-crafted indie-folk rock proposition that deserves full attention.

Listening to the songbook, we can appreciate the effort that has been deployed both in terms of melodies and arrangements. The whole work is mostly airy and stripped down in the service of an often melancholy atmosphere which allows to highlight the beautiful voice of André Pelletier – the latter however was satisfied with rare vocal harmonies within ‘Hotel Morphée. The rich chords of his guitars are supported by the fluid and contained drums of Lemieux, by the keyboards or the soaring violins of Borboën-Léonard, as well as by the precise and discreet bass of Cédric Martel – fourth member of the group.

However, you are never very far from rock tension, often thanks to progressive accents, in particular the astonishing conclusion of the guitar solo by Busy Bee, which is reminiscent of the first versions of Genesis, or the melodic expression of the violin and the chorus of No More Mister Nice Guy, a nod to Gentle Giant.

Extract of Nothing Ever Happens to Me

Having said that, we are talking about an indie-folk album that is very contemporary. We can also draw parallels with some tenors of the indie scene – Death Cab for Cutie on the title track, Gravenhurst on Straight shooter, Radiohead on Keeping Up or the Barr Brothers on Bottle of rye, certainly the most folk of the album. Nevertheless, this assemblage of songs is anything but pastiché, it is the result of a successful work that can be listened to in one go several times in a row.

★★★ ½

INDIE-FOLK ROCK. Deep Rivers. Nothing Ever Happens to Me. HM Creations.

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