Marcel Gagnon,
(Vu-Fox, 2004)

While there is a range of styles of music on Marcel Gagnon's Captured CD, with one exception the songs pull in together to form a continuity. That and the lyrics are the greatest strengths of the CD.

Gagnon (guitar) has a raspy voice that can take a moment or two to get used to on some songs, but for the most part it suits them wonderfully. The other musicians who join in on this CD are Don McLelland (bass guitar, vocals), John Sorensen (guitar), Trevor Bigham (drums, vocals, percussion), Lin Elder (backup vocals), Karen Graves (sax, flute, vocals), Mike Little (keyboards, piano, organ) and Shawn Everett (sampling, general sonic abuse).

The CD starts off with a rocking intro to "Last Dance," then the music slows down as Marcels' raspy voice cuts in. If you pay close attention the lyrics, you find part of the story of a homeless man in them. The pain continues in a different story, "Blue Star Special," as the peacefulness of the music belies and underscores the story. All of the elements of "Madeline" combine to add an unearthly beauty to the song. The mood lightens for "She's Only a Chimpanzee," a humourous song with laidback funky music.

"Moon Face" dances the line between prayer and petition, and the music keeps pulling the answer to prayer. There is a tenderness to "Step Dad" as it hints at another painful story; the background vocals capture the weight of this sorrow. From the very first note, "Summertime Blues" has a retro feel to it, a rock-blues piece that leaves you feeling good.

The flute often takes the lead in the musical interludes on "Let Him Go," a quiet and subtle love song. There is a strangely abridged quote to start off "Man on the Moon" -- otherwise it complements "Summertime Blues" wonderfully. "The Ancestors" is a highly synthesized piece that is short; it is really the only piece that I could not get into as the lyrics are rather shallow when compared to the other serious songs on the CD. The CD ends with the simple lyrics of "Love Love Love," and it proves that simple sometimes can be best.

While the content of some of the songs on Captured might be difficult for some to handle at times, the music that Marcel Gagnon and the others have formed makes it easier to continue on to the next track. So when, if, you listen to this CD, let it remind you that yes, there is pain and sorrow, but there is also love and laughter as well.

by Paul de Bruijn
21 January 2006

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