Vishten – Horizons

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5

Vishten are an Acadian trio, playing music that pushes the Cajun music envelope, drawing in Celtic music, contemporary sounds to Canadian Folk. The band have been together for 15 years, if like me, this, their six album is your introduction then prepare to be swept away, intrigued and entertained, sometimes all at the same time.

There are storming moments like the skittering rhythm and fiery violin of Elle Tempète. The stomp of this opening track is tempered by the wonderfully layered vocals of Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc. The twin sisters, like many siblings and families harmonise and sing together wonderfully. Striking vocals and a strong rhythm are also central to the deceptively upbeat “Les Clefs Dr La, Prison”, actually describing a family visit to a condemned prisoner. There are also moments of calm and serenity. “Les Sirénes à Roméo” swirls in with Pastelle LeBlanc’s limpid piano and a guitar from Pascal Miousse that is half Mark Knopfler and half understated David Gilmour. All the while Emmanuelle LeBlanc’s whistle breathes gently through it all. Horizons celebrates the importance of the horizon in the visual landscape for these three Island dwellers. The music is rich and textured and a fusion with the pulsing guitar and retro keyboards creating a great feel, that the violin and Flute and whistle fly over. “J’àime Vraìment ton Accent” spans the moods, wonderfully dexterous jazzy piano spars with the unearthly jaw harp, with resonant notes that sound almost didgeridoo like. The middle section is a stately march with violin and piano, before it builds to a dance again. “Fleur Du Souvenir” and “L’hermite” are a beguiling mix, an infectious rhythm, Emmanuelle and Pastelle’s sweet vocals and moments of passion and beauty. With all three members providing percussion and rhythmic stomps the beats are dense and engaging. “Bi Bi Box” has an almost reggae or ska guitar part from Pascal Miousse. The chorus is strangely infectious as is Pastelle’s vocalise at the end. “L’autre Femme” with some wonderfully ethereal guitar is part kd Lang crooned ballad, part weird sounding accordion. A stirring tale of lessons, learned mes Soeurs carries the Daniel Lanois-esque guitar chords, adding beautiful spiralling vocals in an ethereal and powerful closing track.

Powerful and layered from the start, Vishten can stomp and dance or they can smoulder and soothe, creating masterful music throughout.