With Lost Voices, enigmatic Montreal-based ensemble Esmerine continues its now ten-year long musical journey, expanding and evolving around their founding core – melodic percussionist Bruce Cawdon and cellist Rebecca Foon. The band has grown from a quartet to a quintet with bassist Jérémi Roy joining Cawdon and Foon along with drummer Jamie Thompson and multi-instrumentalist Brian Sanderson. Whereas its exhilarating predecessor, Dalmak, was very much shaped by the immersive experience of an artist residency in Instanbul and collaboration of local musicians, the new album is a more stylistically diverse and expansive offering:
Lost Voices can fairly be called Esmerine’s “rock” album, expanding upon the band’s celebrated prowess at deploying structure and dynamic, balancing melodic expression against methodical restraint through a diversity of stylistic touchstones (minimalism, post-rock, math-rock, desert rock) while allowing for explosive crescendos of exuberant density and maximalism that most notably distinguishes this record from previous work
That said, the majestic opening track, ‘The Neighbourhoods Rise’, would be right at home on Dalmak and works as both connective tissue between the albums as well as a bridge into new sonic territory. With violinist Sophie Trudeau serving as a sixth member for this record, the richness and range of the string layers are enhanced allowing the pendulum to swing effortlessly from potent jams such as ‘A River Runs Through This City’, ’19/14′, and ‘Funambule (Deus pas de Serein)’ to the ethereal atmospheres of ‘Our Love We Sing’ and the exquisite tenderness of the side closing miniatures ‘A Trick of the Light’ and ‘Lullaby for Nola’. And the spellbinding combination of marimba and strings creates deeply affecting pastoral beauty on ‘Pas Trop Pas Tropes’ and My Mamma Pinned a Rose on Me’, two tracks I found myself returning to repeatedly. Prepare to be equally thrilled and moved by this outstanding collective effort.
Lost Voices is available from Constellation on as a 180g vinyl LP, CD, or digital download (MP3 and FLAC).
‘The Neighbourhoods Rise’