Mike McLatchey 11-August-2002 La Confrerie des Fous

This short-lived ensemble of eight, inclusive of French folk luminaries such as Emmanuelle Parrenin, Patrick Lemercier and Laurent Vercambre, was similar to contemporaries like Alan Stivell, Keris and Malicorne who were moving away from traditional folk and beginning to incorporate progressive rock into the mix. La Confrerie des Fous merges ensemble vocals and celtic folk moves in a rock format with varying success. "On M'Appelle Fou" came close to Malicorne (not surprisingly) with a string presence and the penchant to change rhythmic impetus mid-stream. "La Part a Dieu" has a percussive motion that backs up another Malicorne-ish piece except the presence of electric guitar and abrupt vocal choruses create a different angle. Vocals across the album are split among male and female vocals and, throughout its length, a number of forms and moods are achieved, from celtic dirge to rock jam. It makes for a fascinating album showing the same breadth of vision as Stivell on Celtic Symphony and Malicorne on Le Bestiare. And with the mystical touch of Mme. Parrenin, it's a safe bet that this veers wide from folk convention.

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