If this Montreal trio is what happens when three people spontaneously get together, man oh man do we need to have excellent musicians run into each other more often.
I have a theory—musical taste is an ever-changing thing, but as it goes through its many permutations one type of music becomes more and more appealing: louder rock music. So naturally, “rock-garage-pop francophone” band Rose Fargo are just what the musical doctor ordered. Marie-Hélène Longpré on vocals with François Dufault and Marc-André Beaudoin on instruments make magic.
Mascarade is over in a shade under 12 minutes, but its huge guitars and general “rock like it’s no tomorrow” attitude will leave you returning to it frequently. The word “mascarade” in French can mean a number of things, from a masked ball (ie masquerade) or even a mockery or farce, and that clear snarl (even if my Anglo mind can’t understand all the lyrics) is evident in any language.
Opener “Velvet” is the perfect calling card for the band—hazy, summery guitars over slick bass and steady drums make it a perfect garage-pop song. Longpré’s guides the rhythms along, with little sprinklings of synths in between phrases. Words like “speakeasy” and “bling bling” suggest Longpré couldn’t care less about being a rock star.
“Tombe” and “Nina” are both thunderous rock songs, but evolve in different ways. “Tombe” keeps up the pace throughout with keys and drums in the foreground and guitar in the back and is sure to generate some stomping along. “Nina” trades in hills and valleys, starting off strong with blazing guitar before quieting down a little in the middle—but of course that doesn’t last long, and the guitars come back in with a vengeance.
“Bal des ifs” is the most experimental of the bunch, starting with dream-pop guitars and a wave of disorienting synths. Longpré’s sounds a bit more distant and echo-y, and the guitars come in during the first chorus and stick around for the rest of the song.
Mascarade is a hell of a tantalizing little EP, and I hope there’s plenty more to come from this kickass trio.
Top Track: “Velvet”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)