Most helpful critical review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2006
This could be regarded as the follow up to “The McGarrigle Hour” (their last one, 1998), or “Matapedia” (their last studio album, 1996) or “The French Record” (their last one which was all in French, 1992). Whatever, a new one by les McGarrigles is toujours a reason for bunting and the release of doves. Kate and Anna are chanteuses, musiciennes et auteures-compositeures de réputation internationale, se sont mérité les éloges de la critique et du grand public partout où elles ont passé, que ce soit en Amérique du Nord, en Europe ou en Extrême Orient. Okay, that’s enough of that.
We have grown up together, them and me. Never glamour-pusses, even in 1976 when their essential debut was issued (don’t have it? stop reading this and buy immediately!), K & A are now grey-haired and grandmotherly. The back cover photo is so blurred and they look so glum it looks like the one the kidnappers released to prove they’re still alive. C’mon K & A, you’re grey, I’m grey, it’s okay! Their voices are similarly now being recorded kinda blurry too, which is to say that only rarely does an individual voice step forward, on this album it’s practically all multilayered harmony – no bad thing, but a trifle samey.
Since their first two albums, which were masterpieces, all McGarrigle albums have been patchy. The good ones had some really bad stuff and the bad ones had a couple of gems. “La Vache Qui Pleure” is, even after many listens, hard to place. The accordions, violins and acoustical guitars and the drenching female harmony are all in place, but nothing has really grabbed me – or should I say only the two bad ones have, a French version of “Little Boxes” and a French AND an English version of “Ah! Sunflower” which curiously isn’t credited to William Blake. (Blake fans should refer instead to Van Morrison’s setting of Blake in “Let the Slave”). Perhaps this album suffers from the compositional uncertainties of “Matapedia” (some of whose songs seemed deeply inconsequential, or I was missing points all over the place) but – well, it’s in French.
So two and a half cheers only.