Mélanie Brulée

Melanie Brulee1Mélanie Brulée hails from a Francophone family from Cornwall, Ontario. Her debut album “Débridée” is a little bit-retro yet most decidedly fresh in outlook, very definitely fun and also features a stunning version of a song from one of this blog’s favourite chanteuse.

What makes this album really standout though is the way in which Mélanie – who describes her musical style as ‘indie-spaghetti-western-surf-folk-cabaret’ – has taken typically English musical genres – rock and the roots of ‘Americana’, added copious lashings of guitar – mélangé to create something that sounds both incredibly contemporary and most assuredly French…

There’s rock and roll à la française in Astéroïde”, with it’s metronomic beat and tumultuous tumbling coda of guitars, alongside “Obtus” which is as good a song to launch an album as any I’ve heard this year. A quirky love song it’s incredibly retro – full of 60’s surf and tremeloed guitars – insanely cheerful and features a hook so ridiculously catchy that it should be quarantined in an isolation ward.

There’s also weeping steel guitars a plenty as Mélanie borrows from the rich folklore of Americana; the atmospheric “Peur de moi”, contemporary Alt-Country numbers such as “Coeur sauvage” and “Naked” with the latter featuring some very downbeat, trip-hop rhythms (Mélanie is an admirer of Portishead’s Beth Gibbons). And then there are songs where the guitars just take second billing behind the disarming nasal twang and vocal inflections, such as on “Antidote du doute” – which is just such a great pop-song that it leaves you wondering why all pop-songs can’t be as good as this – the imploring and questioning “Qui suis-je” and the distinctive “Merci”.

But finally there is Mélanie’s version of Vanessa Paradis’ “Marilyn et John”. While it is remarkably faithful to the original, the fragility conveyed by her voice so matches the song’s mood – I’ve always liked the song, but I love this version….

“Débridée” is an exceptional album that’s a little bit different and a little bit unexpected, but one that leaves you wanting to hear a whole lot more of Mélanie Brulée…

New Fanny Bloom remix

Just released, a remix of a Pan-track. Now Evidemment is even more upbeat than in it’s original form. Which is nice

New La Grande Sophie single

Mark S., our correspondent on everything LGS, writes:

La Grande Sophie is preparing a new album with concerts starting in autumn 2015. ‘Maria Yudina’ is the first fruit of her work, issued on 8 June as a single and a video.

Maria Yudina (1899-1970) was a Russian musician who interpreted her contemporary the great composer Shostakovich. She was both among the artistic opponents of the Stalin regime and Stalin’s favourite pianist – a record of her Mozart. Piano Concerto no.23 in A major was reputedly spinning on the record player when Stalin was found dead in 1953. Her story is here and here.
An excellent film about Maria Yudina is here (in Russian with English subtitles).

La Grande Sophie’s wide education – she studied sculpture at the Collège des Beaux-Arts at Marseille – make her always interested in unusual creative artists.
The song has some characteristics of LGS’s earlier work before she turned acoustic with ‘Des Vagues et des Ruisseux’ in 2009. The intricate backing with piano prominent at the end shows how her composition skills have moved on from her rock-guitar days. The long instrumental at the end is an LGS specialism – remember ‘Ne m’oublie pas’ and ‘Ma Radio’ on her ‘Place de Fantôme’ album. As always Sophie has perfect diction.

Also just released is the film of LGS and Christine & The Queens duet of Daniel Balavoine’s 1980s classic ‘Tous les cris les SOS’, performed live at the France Inter 50th anniversary concert on 8 December 2013.

I was able to watch this performance in the UK by single-camera live-stream that night, but the film and sound quality is much better on this Youtube version. That concert also included Christine singing LGS’s ‘Sucrer les fraises’ and Sophie interpreting Christine’s then new ‘Nuits 17 à 52’.

The difference in height, which leads to viewer comments below, is magnified (if you look carefully) by Christine (Héloise Letissier) wearing flat shoes and Sophie her ‘talons’. LGS is indeed tall, as I can confirm having met her. She is 5’10”, the same height as Taylor Swift.