Kamendja ...Sans Queue Ni Tête

Quelle surprise! This is a delicious disc comprised of track after track of instrumental gems that twirl off in many directions at once, all with a distinct Quebecois feel: electric harmonica blues rock ("Russian Funk,” "La Chasse”) and stompin’ good bluegrass and klezmer-meets-zydeco numbers ("Billy The Kid,” "Ricardo”). Kamendja’s down-home stew is comprised of accordion, banjo, electric sitar, violin, violoncello (concert cello), clarinet, throat singing, and washboard. Slower jams, speed-ups, shredding and dynamic changes mid-song are all welcome techniques and as a unit, the group combine playfulness with a seemingly telepathic sense of what happens next in the many numbers where the instruments do the singing. The cheery Gypsy jazz-jam of "Tarantule” exemplifies this, as do the album-closing "Spasme” and "Digestif.” This hybrid of alt-rock and roots music (including touches from Eastern Europe, India, Spain, Argentina and of course, La Belle Province) is a joy of a listen and will hopefully nudge Kamendja further into that ever-widening English Canadian spotlight on quality Francophone music. (Banyan)