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Erin Jane Laroue

Chalant

Review by Larry Toering

Chalant by Erin Jane Laroue is an easy listening masterpiece of piano and vocal storytelling with major inflections of prog. While this is essentially new age music,  it crosses over into what is the ultimate blend of genres. This is what I consider to be a superior recording, produced, engineered and modulated by Dave Fulton and co-produced by Erin Jane Laroue at the Pine Box Studio in Portland, and mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk at Stereophonic.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Alone

It doesn’t take more than a couple of bars, and you know you’re in for something extraordinary. The lyrics are usually a must in order to understand any song, but it’s not always imperative to the music to grasp any necessary meaning. Laroue’s lyrics fit the former, not the latter. With some traditional arrangement by Edgar Allen Poe, this is deeply compelling stuff in every way.

Only The Sea Goes On
As the disc moves forward, there is no mistaking the depth of what is going on.  That is where it gets very proggy and wins on the grand scales of both piano and vocals. This contains a lot of dramatic atmosphere, and Laroue displays skills on the level of singers like Kate Bush and Sinead O’Connor. She also gets reminiscent of piano players like Tori Amos. The result by the end of this epic track is that Laroue is undeniably awesome.

Z
This is a killer piano and mellotron piece that really helps fit into what a lot of fans categorize as prog. It even reflects some Pink Floyd values, whether knowingly or not. The consensus, once again, is that  Laroue is a world class player as well as being exactly that in the vocal department.
Triumph
This is yet another amazingly compelling number to say the least. It features a very fresh and lively vocal capturing in the studio, which makes it feel like she is performing it at the time you’re hearing it. This has absolutely magical music, lyrics and vocals.
Equinox
The sound of Laroue’s voice takes over, and some double tracking takes it over the top with some of the most haunting female vocals this side of the 90’ when artists like Fiona Apple and Nora Jones were coming on strong. It’s just so fantastic that it’s hard to describe unless perhaps you are a musician, but this is so spiritual that it’s on another level. Check the fade for more of that mellotron.
Uno
Another instrumental, this one features nord, mellotron, Taurus 3 and percussion. All are deftly handled by EJL herself, as she plays every instrument on these brilliant tracks.
The Future Is An Revioir
The seventh and final cut on this remarkable release is a piece of music that must be heard, as once again she displays the chops of a musical goddess. Additionally, the lyrics that compete with any I’ve heard in decades. I am very glad I heard this CD and will keep it in my playlist for life. It’s nice to be moved.
 
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