Band: Qwaarn

CD Title: “Aberrations”

Label: Unicorn Digital

Label Website: www.unicorndigital.com

Release Date: 2007

Band Website: www.qwaarn.com

 

The little know Quebec progressive rock outfit going by the unusual name Qwaarn have just released their second CD and while their first went under just about everybody’s radar, I think this new release is going to get them a host of new fans. Backed with the marketing muscle of Unicorn Digital this second release called Aberrations continues the band’s story telling through the eyes of their self created lead character that appropriately enough is called Qwaarn. This time the character is sent back to earth to observe our behavior and the disc features 10 compositions looking at that behavior through the detached alien eyes of Qwaarn.

 

The band Qwaarn is a rather loose grouping of individuals currently working in the Quebec music scene all built around founding member Francois Bernatchez (drums). For Aberrations he’s assisted by Antoine Bernatchez (guitars), Didier Berthuit (vocals), Martin Bleau (guitars), Guy Brindamour (bass), and Mathieu Chamberland (keyboards). The idea behind the group is to bring in and use specifically the talent required to perform the compositions. And while the previous disc The World of Qwaarn tended to be more symphonic prog, this disc leans a little more to a kind of symphonic art-rock style.

 

The sound of the 10 tracks are a mix of many different styles and musical motifs all stitched together within compositions that run anywhere from 3-minutes to almost 9-minutes. And while the overriding genre is better classed as art-rock, there is no denying a strong symphonic foundation that runs throughout. Virtually all the pieces change time and tempo a number of times and given the nature of these songs, remember they’re relating a story to us, it’s natural that there is a certain soundtrack quality to the music as it builds emotions of one sort or another. The songs are melodic but at times they break into unconventional musical signatures or musical styles. The vocals are delivered in English with a pronounced accent and theatrical delivery that in many ways helps convey the fact this is an alien character’s vision we are listening to. The other thing about both the music and the vocals is that there is a strange sense of humor underpinning the musical themes. It’s hard to explain but you just get this quirky sense of strangeness pervading the music.

 

I quite liked the first Qwaarn release, it even came with a Paul Whitehead cover, but with this new release Aberrations has really taken their music up a notch. Overall the sound is better, the musicianship is better and even the musical approach and incorporation of outside influences is more satisfying. Don’t be fooled by the descriptive art-rock. In this particular case the music of Qwaarn has more variety and dynamics than many others I might name. This is actually a disc that requires quite a few spins to take it all in. I have a feeling Qwaarn is a band to watch.

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