Exposé Online banner

Hamadryad — Safe in Conformity
(Unicorn Digital UNCR-5020, 2005, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2006-05-01

Safe in Conformity Cover artMontreal-based outfit Hamadryad’s sophomore effort finds them consolidating the gains made with their widely-hailed 2001 debut, Conservation of Mass. The band faced a serious challenge with lead singer Jocelyn Beaulieu’s departure in 2002, though bassist Jean-Francois Desilets’ assumption of those duties hasn’t dampened their creative energies (though I have to wonder how this will translate to the stage). This album is brimming with classic progressive rock vitality and panache, mostly recalling Genesis at their best, though Gentle Giant gets several nods as well, particularly on the heady closer “Omnipresent Umbra.” Guitarist Denis Jalbert chews scenery from start to finish, firing off blistering electric leads and solos one moment, charming the ear with blankets of gentle 12-string the next, and covering metal and alt-rock grunge besides. Almost as good is keyboard player Francis Doucet who is a superb player, though his role is more foundational and his choice of coloration and textures is more derivative. Rounding out the quartet is drummer Yves Jalbert (Denis’ brother) who should perhaps back off the Neal Peart act some, though with such a dynamic instrumental stew it’s better to have an overly-active player than the reverse. I found Desilets’ singing an obstacle to enjoying the album at first, though this passed after successive listenings. Besides, his bass work (not to mention bass pedals) is terrific. While not blazing any new ground, Hamadryad have nonetheless managed to produce a weighty collection of well-crafted and superbly executed prog rock that many Exposé readers will surely enjoy. Recommended.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Hamadryad

Latest news

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic - Dawn of the Cycads – Since I think Birdsongs of the Mesozoic are a great band, and I think cycads are really interesting plants, I won’t be pedantic and point out that cycads actually appeared in the Early Permian...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues