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27 rue de mi'chelle

It's eight in the morning and I am still not awake, ?sleep? crusted on the outer edges of my eyelids and life not getting through yet, and I put on Carrousel's 27 rue de mi'chelle, not because I want to hear it but because I really need to get the review written, and I finally get it. Sometimes the best time to listen to music is when your defenses are down, you know, maybe because of clarity or focus, and I am now focused. Before this morning, this was a collection of beautiful songs. Now, it is a soundtrack to a dreamscape, a flowing beginning-to-end aural carpet ride through love and loss. And it is all right here in front of me, highs and lows and laughs and tears, but they are not mine. They belong to Joel Piedt and for the purpose of this review, you need only know that Piedt's journey is one of larva to butterfly and a music triumph not unlike that of Greg Laswell, whose outstanding Through Toledo album also traced love's loss through the eyes of experience.

Piedt lost his love, you see, one Michelle, and there the saga begins. He takes us through the experience one song at a time. It is love story in dream sequence. Follow it closely and you follow the trails of the heart. Through the highs and the lows. Through pain and heartache and hope and loss of same. Through the dark tunnel no one wants to travel.

Piedt tells his story in musical movements. There is more than a little bit of The Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed here, in sense more than in sound. With an eerie combination of what I can only deem modern classical, folk, rock, Broadway and pop, Piedt lays out his emotional destruction and reconstruction as a soundtrack. You get the beauty and the pain, the intensity--- full orchestral blasts, theatrical choruses, spacey interludes and a whole lot of Ferrante & Teicher-style concert piano accents, a welcome sound in such a setting.

Ah, but the sound. That's what grabs you at first. The floating beauty of each movement. The high end texture of Piedt's voice. The just-short-of-operatic juxtaposition of (I assume) Malee Bringardner (their harmonies are otherworldly at times). The shifting tones and sounds of the rest of the band--- Rob Polischuck, Patrick Chin, Erich von Hinken and Landon Lee. The miasma surrounding them is one of sadness, beauty and rebirth. Mostly beauty.

14 caught my ear first, a romantic ballad of enticing beauty, a song I thought would be the centerpiece for the album. I have since gravitated toward each song at one time or another but have settled on Take Me Now. The almost church choir-like chorus with lightly struck single piano notes to offset it almost brings me to my knees, it is so spot on.

I have listened to this for three weeks solid, every day--- it has taken me that long to dissect the album and the songs--- and I still find something new with every listen. Maybe not new notes or passages, but new feelings. Every listen. That's how I know an album is worth having. At this point, it seems as if it will never grow old to me.

I'm placing this album on a list of things to get for my girlfriend, if ever I should have one again. For when I screw up. Maybe for when I don't screw up, as well. I wouldn't call it ?chick music?, but it does have that element of romance the ladies seem to like and love, that musical honesty we all find refreshing at times. Carrousel cuts through the sap, let us say, and does so beautifully.

Highly recommended.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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