20150208 Robi ArtworkChloé Robineau’s debut album “L’hiver et la Joie” – a stunningly atmospheric and at times dark and brooding, minimalist indie-pop album populated with synth keyboards and throbbing basslines – deservedly featured amongst 2013’s year-listed albums. And now a couple of years later Chloé – or Robi – as she is better known, is back with a brand new album “La Cavale”, that from the opening bars of “L’éternité” reveals a collection of songs which share the same dark and brooding themes as its predecessor and is again populated with minimalist synthesiser keyboards, stark bass lines and Robi’s deliberately monotonic yet hypnotically seductive vocals.

Yet you also start to notice the subtle changes that Robi manages to convey to the song with just some deft inflections to her voice, added guitar, cello and what sounds like orchestral horns (but which I suspect is just programmation) that provide both added substance and an analogue mellowness; the inherent coldness and unforgivingness of industrial synth-pop is replaced by a yielding warmth. Indeed, while the overall tone of this album is decidedly melancholic there are also some very clever touches displayed here -an unexpected sensuality to Robi’s voice on “Nuit de fête” that is expertly framed by the song’s melody, while “Danser” oozes romance and passion – a solitary spotlight following two dancers as they pirouette across a deserted dance floor.

The more that I’ve been listening to this album over the past week, so I’m convinced that “La Cavale” shares a kindred spirit with La Féline’s “Adieu L’Enface” and nowhere more so than with the haunting “A cet endroit” with its heavily reverbed guitar, analogue synths and melodic chorus.

“La Cavale” is a totally captivating and assured album, perfect for driving along a desolate two-lane flat top, searing headlights illuminating the dark, waiting for the moment daylight rescues us from the night’s grasp…