2018 sees the Canadian band Mystery back with their latest album Lies & Butterflies. For once there has been only a slight amendment in the line-up, with keyboard player Benoît Dupuis replaced by Antoine Michaud (who wasn't even a twinkling in his parents eye when the band started out!). Michaud first joined the band as replacement guitarist for Moineau in 2014 when the latter was unable to undertake a European tour, before then being contacted in 2016 and asked to join the band in a different role. With the band being the most stable in many years, it probably is little surprising that this feels very much like a sequel to Delusion Rain (2015), but with the band understanding each other even better than before, and allowing themselves to relax into their roles.
Jean Pageau is a wonderful singer, and with the confidence that only comes from successfully touring overseas, he really shines on this album. During Looking For Something Else he produces an incredible performance, backed with only an acoustic guitar, while he then provides flute himself as the piano comes into play. Mature and simply beautiful, this is an accomplished performance, and as he cranks it up and the band kicks in, the following guitar solo is perfectly paced with huge drive, taking the song to a totally different level. That is one of the two long songs on the album, which bookend five somewhat shorter ones, all seven showing just how much Mystery have changed and grown since I first came across Theatre Of The Mind, released some 22 years previously.
Of course, only Michel St-Père (electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, producer) has been at the helm of the good ship Mystery throughout, and he has chartered a course through to a glorious album that I have enjoyed immensely.
***** Kev Rowland
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