Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coeur de Pirate: "Blonde" (album review)

Reviewing Blonde, the new album from Montreal's Béatrice Martin, aka Coeur de Pirate, poses an unusual challenge for me.  Being a Francophone record, I don't have a bloody clue what she's singing about.  Thankfully, her music is rich and expressive enough to provide plenty to latch onto, regardless of my level of understanding.

Blonde is an incredibly vibrant record.  Martin has an obvious affection for retro sounds, much of the album sounds like '60s female soul, she can be a French equivalent to the likes of Duffy or Adele.

The arrangements, which often incorporate jazz and big band elements, are sweeping and cinematic.  The groovy "Danse et danse" will seduce anyone with even the slightest hep cat in him.  The string arrangement on "Golden Boy" gives the song a grandiose, but not overbearing, feeling.  "Lés amours dévouées" bring a Spanish vibe into the mix, while Polaris nominee Colin Stetson pops in to lend horn to "Hôtel Amour".

Most of all Coeur de Pirate is a performer.  Her vocals are warm and deep, delivered in a package that has more than a little dramatic flair.  Martin is at her best when she's in full-on chanteuse mode, as on "Loin d'ici", a cheeky track on which she seems to tease the listener.

There truly is a lot to love about Coeur de Pirate, even if  you don't know what the heck she's singing about.

Coeur de Pirate plays the Mod Club in Toronto on November 11th.

Best tracks: "Loin d'ici", "Danse et danse"

Track listing for Blonde:
  • Léve les voiles
  • Adieu
  • Danse et danse
  • Golden Boy
  • Ava
  • Loin d'ici
  • Les amours dévouées
  • Place de République
  • Cap Diamant
  • Verseau
  • Saint-Laurent
  • La petite mort
  • Hôtel Amour
8.0/10
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