1797421_10152436642313258_2965283131295847025_nThe first French album to really make an impression this year, is the untitled debut by Unibox. Not the most convenient bandname, if you ask me. Google it, you’ll see. Unibox is a six-piece, three girls (Valerie, Alice, Adeline) and three guys (Loic, Theophile, Baptiste). As I understand it, Valentine is one singing the most tracks. The music has touches of early Air (Fille de l’air, Intro), classic chanson (Suis Moi) and restrained Moodoïd (i.e. less psychedelic). The voices, the duets, the gentile atmosphere, it’s breezy, upbeat (even if most lyrics aren’t) and, in case of album closer Cette Nuit, just brilliant. Listen to the full album on Spotify.

Je m’appelle Charlie

Four singers, La Grande Sophie, Jeanne Cherhal, Camille and Emily Loizeau, expressed their feelings about the slaying at the Charlie Hebdo offices in a song. Read the lyrics in this Figaro piece.

Marie-Pierre Arthur

Welcome in the 10th year of FillesSourires.com. Here’s a new track by Marie-Pierre Arthur. Guestposter Mark Sullivan has the news:

Et voilà – Marie-Pierre Arthur is Filles Sourires’ first new song of 2015.
‘Rien à faire’ is the advance track of her third album, ‘Si l’aurore’ (does the title remind you of anything?) due out on 17 February. It catches the ear straight away – and seems a definite move by MPA from folk-rock into pop. The beginning has a late 80s feel: it recalls for me the start of ‘Love Power’, the Dionne Warwick – Jeffrey Osborne number by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. And it’s a potential dance track. It puts Marie-Pierre into yacht rock/AOR territory, Taylor Swift territory even. And it’s better than Swift’s own move from country & western into pure pop.
This augurs well / cela est de bon augure pour l’album.

La Féline

20141217 La Feline ArtworkSo I’d already drafted my album of the year when I recalled a post concerning Agnès Gayraud’s project La Féline. The EP in question, “Adieu l’enfance”, had recently morphed into a full-blown album, so I gave it a metaphorical spin… And the more I listened the more there was this nagging voice in the back of my head that kept telling me that this was a truly gr-r-eat album…

“Adieu l’enfance” is the most intoxicating mix of eighties-influenced dreamy electronic synth-pop, guitar-tinged indie-pop all mixed with spell-binding vocals; “Les fashionistes (au loin)”, outwardly a wry observation on the ‘sameness’ of the fashion police but actually that of the world viewed from the perception of the alienated outsider. The song’s hypnotic beat and Agnès’ breathless vocal style create a compelling soundtrack of a disturbingly dystopian landscape…

“La ligne d’horizon” features the most dreamy synth pop rhythms – complete with a haunting trumpet refrain with a touch of cello that add extra depth and poignancy to the coda; The album’s title track kicks-off with looped-vocals and the most gorgeous of synth-pop rhythms. The vocals are breathless – spellbinding – the chorus is uplifting – a song that does not so much regret the passing of a childhood moment as rejoice; “Zone”, with the must exhilarating – pounding – industrial synth soundtrack, that about half-way through seamlessly transformed into an indie-rock song.

Guitar-fuelled indie rock gets an airing with “Midnight”, a song that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on The Cure’s “Seventeen Seconds”; the beguiling a cappella “Rêve de Verre”, a resplendent multi-dubbed choir and a hymn to the loss of innocence and “La fumée dans le ciel” complete with gorgeous vibrato guitar that transports you back to the sixties (‘retromania’ as Agnès might say?)

The overall effect of this album is to create a succession of timeless song which expertly blended the familiar with the yet to be discovered. Indeed, the whole raison d’être of the album is captured by “Moderne”; melancholic and thoughtful, a manifesto to the belief that ‘new’ is in fact ‘old’ and newness is just a reinvention of the past. (Agnès touches upon the idea of ‘modern is old’ in the pages of her fascinating blog “Moderne, c’est déjà vieux” (“Modern it’s Already Old”).

“Adieu l’enfance” is, upon reflection, too good an album to pass up…