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Album Review

Les Cowboys Fringants' sixth album, L'Expedition does its best to live up to its own title. The music travels far and wide not only from previous efforts, but perhaps most strikingly travels far from song to song. The combo can play a quiet maritime fiddle-based piece like "Rue des Souvenirs" and immediately turn toward an angrier, bouncing political rant in "Monsieur." It's that variety that enlivens the album — one can listen to a simple singer/songwriter ballad in "Train de Vie" and then have a rousing group drinking song in the closing track. And it never quite gets old. There's something to be said for the group's ability to turn out song after song in wildly varying styles without ever sounding too eager to whet every listener's appetite individually, and without ever quite breaking the tone of the album as a whole. Despite the variance in style, the quality of the performances and the general mood and tone within the songs remain throughout the proceedings. There's a sense of nostalgia in the music, and a sense of the music as representative of a simpler home or a simpler time. While the variety enlivens the album, the coherence and tone keep the album listenable and grounded in musical reality.


Formed: Repentigny, Quebec, Canada

Genre: French Pop

Years Active: '00s

Bassist Jérôme Dupras, drummer Dominique Lebeau, multi-instrumentalist Marie-Annick Lépine, guitarist Jean-François Pauzé, and vocalist Karl Tremblay formed Les Cowboys Fringants ("the Frisky Cowboys") in the Montreal suburb of Repentigny. Steeped in traditional Quebec folk and politically charged, they're just as much a modern rock band, and they've built a reputation as a major live draw with a fan base that extends to Switzerland and France. Their releases include the albums Motel Capri...
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L'expédition, Les Cowboys Fringants
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