The first time I saw Mangeur de Rêves was in a laid-back little bar in Villeray in 2017. They hadn’t been together that long and thoughts of studio time were still a vague and distant hope, but even then they filled the place with songs characteristic of refined sensibilities and the eloquence to describe them well.
The atmospheric quality of their music was in part the product of the sweeping melodies and ambient-style chord structures but was also due to the exquisite blending of the voices of the gifted JPhil and lead singer Alex Cégé. I was also struck by how Raphaël Liberge-Simard managed to make the drumkit seem redundant, hammering out polyrhythms on a simple wooden box (called a cajón).
So the show at the Verre Bouteille on Sunday, April 14th was all that and more, as the lighting and acoustics allowed this amazing band to wear their essence on their sleeves. The show was the official launching of their first album, Histoires à l’envers , recorded at the legendary Breakglass Studios, which I’ve been listening to on bandcamp for weeks. I’m ever so grateful now to have my own CD, but it was a thrill and a half to hear inspired solos from Jici and Florent that would never sound exactly the same again.
I was also delighted to make the acquaintance of Valmo, a clever and pretty gal from Sherbrooke who opened the evening with introspective lyrics bubbling over with warmth and good vibrations. Valmo’s voice is strong yet emotional, and her easygoing stage presence and thoughtful, personal lyrics puts one in mind of singers like Jann Arden. Her band was also incredibly tight, the guitar and bass providing a thrilling rockabilly undertone to many of the songs.
Many thanks to Verre Bouteille for hosting this wonderful evening!