Lisbonne Télégramme came about as the result of long distance emailing between Maritza Bossé-Pelchat and François Dufault of Montréal’s The Blue Seeds. Maritza (originally a contestant on the inaugural season of the French-Canadian TV show Star Académie), had taken a sabbatical from Québec in 2012 and was holed-up in the beautiful port city of Lisbon. The correspondence between the pair cemented their collaboration and upon her return to Canada, Maritza and François enlisted fellow The Blue Seeds members Martin Farmer and Eric Rathé, and Lisbonne Télégramme was born.
The fruits of their labours is the band’s debut album, “Miroir d’Automne”, a collection of nine intensely melancholic, atmospheric and spellbinding songs of love – or more accurately, hurt – hope and fear and introduces us to Maritza, who demonstrates that she would be more at home on “La Voix” than in any ‘Star Academy’.
The album opens with melancholy “Au loin” a deceptively simple country-folk tinged number that features a gorgeous weeping slide guitar and introduces us to Maritza’s voice – mournful, seductive, hypnotic.
Theme of love – or more often and accurately, aching hurt – are ones that recurs over and over again. The overwhelming mood of melancholy that is “Je n’ose plus” and a middle eight of sombre piano that perfectly captures the mood of the song, while “Autumn mirrors” features a haunting piano melody which focus attention on the beguiling vocals. The song features deft touches of violin and harmonious choruses, especially on the angelic coda.
And then there are the songs that highlight the pain of separation, especially “Où es-tu?”, a song framed by Sophie Trudeau’s (of Montréal’s avant-garde post-rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor) sympathetic violin, its omnipresence during the song’s chorus amplifies the hurt that distance brings.
However the two standout tracks upon first listening are “Fugitive”, with its majestic Mellotron and heavily reverbed guitar that creates a soundtrack that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Sergio Leone western. There’s an orchestral quality that is perfectly married to Maritza’s deeply soulful voice. And then there’s “Bientôt”, a song which features heavily in reviews amongst the Francophone-Québec press and which has drawn comparisons with Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android.” To these ears the song – a powerful tale of a fiery maelstrom engulfing the city and it’s inhabitants – offers hints of both Forêt and the much missed Hôtel Morphée. It’s a really atmospheric track that bristles with an undercurrent of menace and offer a noticeable change of pace and depth, suggesting that Lisbonne Télégramme have much more to offer.