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Albert Bouchard – Re Imaginos

Albert Bouchard
Re Imaginos
by Kenn Staub at 12 December 2020, 2:21 PM

ALBERT BOUCHARD is best known as the drummer in BLUE ÖYSTER CULT’s (BÖC) original line-up, the million selling iteration that recorded such classics as “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and “Burning For You.” Since parting ways with BÖC in 1981, the Watertown, NY native has performed with THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS, HERMAN’S HERMITS with PETER NOONE, and THE SPENCER DAVIS GROUP, as well as played on records by MIKE WATT and RICHIE STOTTS, GUMBALL, and FABIENNE SHINE. Additionally, BOUCHARD has helmed acts including THE BRAIN SURGEONS, UNDERBELLY, and BLUE COUPE. On November 6, 2020 BOUCHARD released his third solo effort, “Re Imaginos,” wherein he revisits the 1988 BÖC album “Imaginos.”

Originally conceived as a BOUCHARD solo project, “Imaginos,” or in this case “Re Imaginos” is based on the scripts and poetry of late BÖC producer, manager, and songwriter Sandy Pearlman. Telling the story of an alien conspiracy wrought by an agent of evil, Imaginos, in the later 19th and early 20th century, “Re Imaginos” is comprised of nine new recordings of tracks which appeared on the BÖC album, albeit in a different order, and three added songs (“Girl That Love Made Blind,” “Gil Blanco County,” “Black Telescope”).

Re Imaginos” IS DEFINITELY NOT a heavy metal album. An eclectically rendered collection, sometimes instrumentally experimental, the songs on “Re Imaginos” variously include hard rock, psychedelic, sixties pop, folk, blues, jazz, and western elements. BOUCHARD handles the lead vocals. Though his singing might not be to everybody’s liking, I found the rough, world-weariness in his voice very appealing and easy on my ears. He also plays most of the major instruments on this mélange of electric and acoustic tracks, with David Hirschberg taking care of the bass while other musicians lend their talents on guitar, keyboards, piano, violin, and trumpet. Instrumentally the guitar playing stood out, given plenty of room, but yet always staying true, even during solos, to the tone and structure of each track.

Without a doubt, the hardest rocker on the album is the opening track, “I Am The One You Warned Me Of.” The track has a bluesy feel, with an undercurrent of piano and percussion running beneath the guitar. At the midway point the band begins a jam before settling back as the song starts its wind down. A guitar solo closes, just one of several opportunities this instrument is given the opportunity to shine.

The 60s are evoked in “Del Rio Song” and “Girl That Love Made Blind.” “Del Rio Song” features a poppy, uptempo groove and its folkish, mellow quality is very easy to listen to. In contrast “Girl That Made Love Blind” has a spacey quality. Some intentionally discordant elements are strewn about, making the song sound as if it is played in fits-and-starts.

Two of the more interesting tracks on the album are the back-to-back tandem of “Imaginos” and “Gil Blanco County.” BOUCHARD was smart to pair these on the album because they function almost as a western interlude. “Imaginos” has an interesting rhythm line played at a nice tempo; the drums, guitar, and bass combining for a neat hook. Trumpets compliment the more standard rock instruments. An acoustic guitar speaks of desolation to open “Gil Blanco County,” before the track tonally lightens and becomes what I can best describe as spacey, western-tinged, surf music.

I was particularly interested in hearing “Blue Öyster Cult,” primarily for purposes of comparison to BÖC’s version. To this end, I found both similar. The track has a neat hooky rhythm, with opportunities for both the bass and guitar to serve as highlights. “Magna of Illusion,” despite featuring a variety of different elements and being tonally acoustic, is, at its heart, more of a rock song than some of the other tracks on the album. It includes a funky lead-in with a bass undertone.

Is this album metal? NO, and I would not recommend it to somebody visiting this site looking to find his or her next metal fix. Is this album good? YES, particularly if you are willing give it a chance despite it not being metal. Moody and sprightly, at times discordant, I could easily see this album soundtracking a sci-fi movie. It’s not, however, an album you can just put on to play in the background. Rather, you must remain auditorally attentive if you want to fully appreciate all the different elements BOUCHARD weaves throughout this hour long opus.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. I Am The One You Warned Me Of
2. Del Rio Song
3. In The Presence Of Another World
4. Siege And Investiture Of Baron Von Frankenstein’s Castle At Weisseria
5. Girl That Love Made Blind
6. Astronomy
7. Imaginos
8. Gil Blanco County
9. Blue Oyster Cult
10. Black Telescope
11. Magna of Illusion
12. Les Invisibles
Lineup:
Albert Bouchard – Vocals, Drums, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Keyboard
David Hirschberg – Vocals, Fretless Bass
Record Label: Deko Entertainment
     


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