Deep within the aura of secular metaphysics comes a new take on religion. Benoit Pioulard’s Hymnal is the salvation that we look for to find a deeper salvation. A simple monument of pop architecture that’s humble. It’s that moment we stop and respect the ghosts that speak volumes through silence and meditative guidance.
Thomas Meluch spent time in Southeastern England and Europe to contemplate the core essence of our religious archeticture and framework. The soundtrack to serenity, Pioulard has wrapped the essence of historical presence.
Hymnal hopes to become a musical monument to modern western civilization, and as Guizot presented a philosophical view of this in a historical context or like Pascal did with his religious treatise, Pioulard’s intentions feels like the same.
Saint Ambrose spent weeks contemplating the existence of God, writing in his Proslogium. It’s not just a simple account of whether God exists, but his reaction to how God exists in our plane of conscious. Hymnal reaches out to how secular music and pop culture could play a role in the documentation of history and how it can play a role in the scope of humanity.
Calling this a religious album is wrong. Finding the reason of existence within yourself is more of a reality within the solace of these songs. “Reliquary” is an existential pop song that acts as a shrine to past pop relics that transforms into an contemplative moment (“Homily”). Pioulard is good at that, and he fuses it well on this album, like the upbeat “Margin” turning into the fuzzed-out “Censer.”
There is enough dissonance within these songs to make you feel guilty for embelishing in the pop construction that drives the album forward. But in the context of the entire canon, it’s another perspective within Pioulard’s career that through time is a testament of exquisite musicianship and thoughtful creativity. Hymnal will be an album that continues to grow and expand within the people’s psyche.