Pierrefilant is the debut album of Lyon, France’s Saint Sadrill sextet, who plays a thoroughly interwoven mix of avant-garde prog and jazz fusion. Out on November 2 via the excellent French label Dur et Doux, the album is over an hour long and features a full-time vibraphonist. I was anticipating the album since the first single came out, and, now that it is, let me tell you about it.
I was expecting the release to be good; I mean, listen to “Corq”: it’s beautiful. Even if it’s not the most theoretically interesting track on there, it has its quirks and the general Saint Sadrill aura that shines on all of the record. Thanks again to the aforementioned vibraphone, and, perhaps the most striking aspect of the band, vocalist Antoine Mermet. Antoine’s delivery is very versatile and talented: from the smooth chest voice to the souly high registre, to a breadth of techniques that gives off various noises and harsh vocals, the singer takes an important role in making Saint Sadrill what it is. Oh, and, did I mention that keyboardist Anne Quillier is involved as well? If you didn’t catch it, I recently wrote about another project she’s in, and highlighted how prolific she was; well, here is yet another example of this.
Other than the two members I focused on, Saint Sadrill is full of talented people. I expected the album to be good, just not to be completely blown away by it; which is what happened. The album is pretty massive, at over an hour, but never feels tired or boring. New musical ideas keep coming and refreshing themselves, up until the very last moments of the twenty-minute finale, “Happy Humans”. Pierrefilant might just be one of the best albums of the year.