|Personnel: Ariel Engle, Amy Milan (vocals); Marie Mich?le Beausoleil (harp); Caroline Milot (cello); Ariane Paradis (clarinet); Chris Palameta (oboe); Julie Christine Parent (bassoon, contrabassoon); H?l?ne Drapeau (trumpet); Kira Doherty (French horn); Rehaud Gratton (trombone); Corinne Ren? (vibraphone, timbales, percussion); Gina Ryan-Kenney (marimba, gong); Francis Amireauit (cymbals); James Cargill (electronics).
|After a brief scene-setting introduction, the lovely "Grand Luxe" starts Montag's second full-length release sounding for all the world like a French-Canadian version of the minimalist-synth Brits Pram, with leader Antoine B?dard sharing lead vocals with guest Ariel Engle, in her best imitation of Rosie Cuckston's wispy vocal style. Stars' Amy Millan is the other female singer on Alone, Not Alone, adding her alluring trills to two songs, including the divine electro-pop gem "Perfect Vision." Elsewhere, B?dard largely goes it alone, his dark-toned, lightly accented whisper of a voice taking a back seat to the lovely, crystalline synth tones. Alone, Not Alone only just skates by on lashings of glacial atmosphere on its less developed songs, but when B?dard's melodic sense matches his knack for arrangements, as on the Stereolab-like drone pop of the first half of the multi-part "Angles, Country Terrain Connu," Alone, Not Alone is as good as contemporary indie electronica gets. ~ Stewart Mason