# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Maison Neuve - Joan

  by Tom Fogarty

published: 9 / 12 / 2011

Maison Neuve - Joan
Label: Talitres
Format: CD


Wistful and enigmatic debut album from French band Maison Neuve, who sing in both English and French

'Joan' is the debut album from Maison Neuve, a French act who love guitars, drums, organ, sax, paid jobs, insomnia and Paris. Brought up on the folk music of places like Rodez, Stockholm, Toulouse and the Landes, whilst dreaming of Bossa Nova and Rock ‘n’ Roll, they have a feeling of sentimental excitement and wildlife, big cities and true love. The press release that accompanied this release drew comparisons with Leonard Cohen. They were, however, more reminiscent to me of the Velvet Underground - which is certainly no bad thing. The opening track in particular - 'You are My Prophet'- sounds eerily similar to 'All Tomorrow's Parties'; sombre heavy drumbeat that builds up into something truly majestic in tone and scope and portends toward what is to come. The melodies have a strong sense of longing and regret, that somehow manage to convey these emotions far more aptly than lyrics could. Still, this is not really a sombre or sad album. This is the kind of album that will cheer you up in the winter and make you remember warm summer evenings and past dalliances fondly. The band show a lot of restraint with the subject matter, and much of the power in the music stems from this. They are not as joyful and exuberant as another French band currently making (small) waves on the London music scene, We Were Evergreen, but still stand up to the task rather well. To some extent this is an album of tqo halves; starting out in English, before switching mainly to French in the second half. Interestingly they sound much better in French - and I say that as someone who cannot speak a word of the language. An extra air of mystery is added, along with another level of complexity to the music. Although the album certainly creates a certain vibe, it is not monotone or repetitive. The only single from the album (so far) 'Under Skies of Fire' is charged with roaring guitars and staccato piano playing, utilizing skilful transitions and goes from rapid acceleration to gentle wind down with seeming ease and grace. 'Humble Hearts' is another standout track, brimming with haunting vocals and winsome charm. 'Victor' has a slow momentum to it, that draws you in and picks up pace before you have time to notice. Starting with simple bass, the music builds, creating tension until a deep, densely layered melody is achieved, and abruptly abates. 'Joan' manages to sound jaded and fresh all at once, but is above all incredibly wistful. To use a rather apt cliché - it has a certain je ne sais quoi about it. Vive la France!

Track Listing:-
1 Prophet
2 The Wrong Class
3 Under Skies of Fire
4 Victor
5 Sweet Soul
6 Au large de la ville
7 Jojo
8 Humble Hearts
9 Touch In the Heart
10 Lizzy In the Sea
11 L'attraction terrestre

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