Les antipodes

Les antipodes

Since 1997, Les Cowboys Fringants have combined the old and the new, bringing together Quebec's long-established folk music tradition with contemporary rock panache. In that time, they have become one of the province's most outrageously popular bands. Songwriter Jean-François Pauzé pens real tunes about real life, from fun and silly to somber and sentimental. It's all here on this heartfelt 10th album, which, as the title suggests, alternates between opposite ends of the spectrum. On the one hand, you've got weary tunes like the gently thumping country-tinged opener "L'Amérique pleure," in which a trucker ponders the troubling state of the world. On the other, there's the raucous "La traversée (de l'Atlantique en 1774)," a Celtic-influenced stomper about a whiskey-fueled ocean crossing of yore. In between those two poles, lead singer Karl Tremblay offers a forlorn lover a shoulder to cry on on the soft-strummed closing track, "Sur mon épaule." Each song is a crowd-rousing sing-along in the making, showcasing the eclectic and deep-rooted appeal of a group that, more than two decades in, shows little sign of letting up.

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