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Claire Vezina - Cyber Neptune - CD Cover
Image © Unicorn Digital 2009

Claire Vezina
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Image © Unicorn Digital 2009

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(24 May 2009) Cyber Neptune (Unicorn Digital (Canada) UNCR 5059, 2008) is the fourth album from Quebec's Claire Vezina. In her own words, "powerful and significant, the album sails across open waters; sometimes stormy, sometimes calm but always intense. Cyber for modern world, daily life and virtual reality whereas Neptune stands for water, imagination and depth." With her new album, Claire makes us navigate through her universe with the help of electro-rock atmospher, slightly influenced by progressive sound, without disconnecting from her musical roots.

Claire provides color and legendary warmth from the Rhodes that she brought back in many of her compositions. The pianist reveals herself with other parts of piano, Wurlitzer, Mellotron, organ and even handles the guitar strings. Serge Poulin is a co-writer of several songs and co-producer of several of the recordings. He played all the drum parts, percussion, some of the guitars. Jeff Grenier of Monocube studio is responsible for recording and mixing as well as for his participation as a guest musician on some of the songs and Marc-André Dubé plays bass. Guitarists Éric Savard, Richard Soucy and Christian Poirier as well as David Jacques on saz join Claire on this production.

Sung in French, and delivered evocatively, the dreamlike and sensitive lyrics are about about life and death, love and war and tell us about urban stories ("Il Pleut Sur La Ville," "Dans Ton Monde Cyber"), a Vendeen legend ("Méluzine"), comtemporary questions ("Cyber Neptune," "Jeanne," "Les Soldats"), waking dreams ("Naufrage," "11h52," "De l'Ouest Une Brise Souffle") and interrogations about life ("Soleil," "Tant de Guerres").

Critically acclaimed, "Cyber Neptune is a very captivating disc. Claire Vezina's musical style is one that will appeal too many symphonic or prog fans who appreciate what Peter Gabriel does, mixing pop and prog together." In other comments, the music is "very progressive-flavored with full electric rock instrumentation on many tracks impeccably performed and full of magical atmospheres. Vezina has a beautiful voice to deliver the lyrics, in French of course, essential to the feel of her music. Claire Vezina joins Emily Bezar and Kate Bush in the aristocracy of female progressive artists."

Listeners will be equally drawn to the softer ballads and to the upbeat rock numbers on Cyber Neptune. We found it especially interesting that the title tracks that opens and close the album are unusually short, especially for a progressive rock artist. But they work well and are perfect bookends to the collection. The more upbeat rock tracks "Jeanne" and "Soleil" are two of the albums standouts. The modern percussion and rhythm section arrangement on "Dans Ton Monde Cyber" is balanced against Claire's soaring vocals.

The piano ballad "Les Soldats" is especially illustrative of Claire's well known keyboard work. The ethnic guitar arrangements in "De l'Ouest" balance Claire's vocals elegantly. Sung partly in English, the standout "Tant De Guerre" is the most accessible tracks on the album. The arrangements and verse chorus structure work especially well.

We especially appreciated the and production on this album. Both lead vocals and backing harmonies are perfectly placed in the mix. Listeners are reminded that this is a progressive rock album - and like many in the genre - it will require repeated listenings and some patience to fully appreciate. Singer songwriter Claire Vezina has turned out to be a wonderful discovery and Cyber Neptune is recommended to listeners that like warm female voices and poetic lyrics in progressive rock. This is an artist to follow further in the future.

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