Halo Maud - Je Suis Une île - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Halo Maud - Je Suis Une île

by Brian Thompson Rating:8 Release Date:2018-05-25
Halo Maud - Je Suis Une île
Halo Maud - Je Suis Une île

In France, many contemporary artists are pulling from the yé-yé acts of the 1960s, injecting that chanson spirit into the world of synth-driven pop and proggy electronica. The hypnotic, ethereal sounds of Halo Maud (Maud Nadal of Melody's Echo Chamber and Moodoïd fame) have taken the endeavor one step further, drawing from a well of influences that ranges from Françoise Hardy to Björk to Prince. On her stunning debut, Je Suis Une île, Nadal continues to color outside the lines, with lush French dream-pop boasting a hygienic production that dazzles without ever taking itself too seriously.

Halo Maud’s skill lies in crafting bouncy, breezy pop tunes with undeniably bleak emotion behind them, as to match whatever energy the audience brings to them. Depending on the listener’s frame of mind, Je Suis Une île could function as a contemplative, breakup record or a jaunty dance groove. From the upbeat opener, “Wherever,” the mood walks a tightrope separating the elation of spirited love and some something far more somber. Maud’s lyrics ping pong back and forth between French and English  – often in the same breath – so unless you are fluent in both languages, you are left to discern tone from the atmosphere around her words, which often operates in an intricate cloud of subtle ambiguity.

Sonically, the record displays hefty ambitions. From the dreamy, synth-laden psychedelia of “Surprise” to the mellow, celestial waves of “Tu Sais Comme Je Suis” to the wide-eyed, childlike wonder of “Baptism,” Halo Maud is continually searching for the limits of her sound. On the second half, she reaches even further, with experimental turns like the avant-garde “Proche Proche Proche” and a bold title track that includes a sample of “Du Pouvoir/Power” (featured earlier on the album) played backwards. An imaginative statement through and through, each key change feels like an emotional whirlwind.

As it travels between existential crises and matters of the heart, Je Suis Une île is able to make personal struggles feel universal. Halo Maud explores the residual melancholy left in the wake of a breakup, in all its bittersweet splendor. Ranging from whimsical to dour, this record blends emotional extremes into an impressive tonal balancing act. On top of it all, we are given a playful beat that truly gets the blood flowing. This is psychedelic pop at its absolute finest.

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