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Articles Home » 2007 Articles » Harlequin (Canada) - 2007 Waking The Jester
Harlequin (Canada) - 2007 Waking The Jester

ARTIST: Harlequin (Canada)
ALBUM: Waking The Jester
LABEL: Fontana North
YEAR: 2007


LINEUP: George Belanger - vocals * Derrick Gottfried - lead guitar * Nick Rivers - bass * Darren Moore - keyboards, guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Shine On * 02 Rise * 03 Hell Or High Water * 04 40 Days In Your Car * 05 Black Out The Sun * 06 How Long * 07 This Limbo * 08 Take It Or Leave It * 09 Lolita * 10 Inbound Train * 11 Little White Lies * 12 You Can't Go Back * 13 Taste It



Here's a Canadian band who hold a regular place here at GLORY-DAZE. Harlequin earned a whole bunch of admirers from their earlier days - certainly albums like 'Victim Of A Song', 'Love Crimes' and 'One False Move' should be compulsory additions to your album collection. After an extensive run during the 80's, Harlequin's creative flicker ran dry. The band opted out of the limelight, but due to George Belanger's persistence, Harlequin Part II resumed duty in the 21st century after many years of inactivity. Back in 2004, Belanger's new version of the band reappeared with a new album 'Harlequin II'. That album featured many stalwarts of the Western Canadian music scene, including fellow Winnipeg musos Daryl Gutheil and Ken Sinneave from Streetheart. Rumours of a new Harlequin CD surfaced a year ago, and now here it is: 'Waking The Jester', with Belanger recruiting some new blood to freshen up the sound. Punters may remember the glorious AOR heard on that beautiful 'Love Crimes' album. This new version of the band don't return to such former glories, however there is enough here to suggest that George Belanger is still writing songs in a similar vein, though the end delivery might not suggest it. Musically, the band still take their cue from styles and influences back in the day. The album has been crafted without the hindrance of expectation or industry pressure, and as such, the band have been able to release an album that feels comfortable, spacious and guilt-free.

The Songs
Most of the album is a collaboration between Belanger, Gottfried and Moore, and is a classic rock concoction that best typifies their past achievements alongside their current harder stance. The lead guitar work on Derrick Gottfried ensures Harlequin display some balls and he gives them a vibe and energy the others spin off from. Just take a listen to the excellent tunes 'Hell Or High Water' or 'Take It Or Leave It' as prime examples. Some of my other favourites include the dark shadings of 'Lolita', including some subtle keyboard parts from Darren Moore; the very commercial sounding 'Rise', or the power-pop sounding 'How Long', which doffs a cap to all those power-pop bands we've been reviewing lately. Saludos! In the same vein is the pop-ballad 'You Can't Go Back' which again, takes us back to a decade when songs this good were dime a dozen on the radio.. not now unfortunately. On occasion, Harlequin rock out a little harder than usual. The pairing of 'Inbound Train' and the closer 'Taste It' are examples where the rock is definitely 'hard' as opposed to 'classic'.

In Summary
Harlequin though a decade or two outside of their comfort zone, haven't been completely ignored by their contemporaries. The band were inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame during 2006, a testament to their prolific recording career and longevity. 'Waking The Jester' is available for purchase from CD Baby, and at $12 is a reasonable investment for what is considered to be staple on the Canadian classic rock circuit. I thoroughly enjoyed this CD and was glad I threw some bucks at it. The classic rock scene is alive and well it would seem, and along with a handful of other Canadian stalwarts (such as Helix and Holly Woods), Harlequin are still delivering the goods. Check out their website for more, or you can check in on Darren Moore's blogspot site for the band as well.

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#1 | rkbluez on December 13 2009 22:01:55
Wow some old bands make a comeback record and usually it's OK but nothing like their old stuff...well I gotta tell you this new Harliquin rocks and is loaded with good tunes...a very nice suprise.
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