reviewed by Cissy Suen
Fjord, Thomas Casault and Louis-Étienne Santis, have created a beautiful array of tracks in their new EP, Textures. From the electronic backbone to the pop lyrics sung with RnB elements, to the overall ambient tone, Textures is a collection of various feelings and pattern that gives a colourful taste of the Quebec City duo.
Their EP, released today, contains the popular tracks “Blue” (which has 2+ million streams on Spotify) and a cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey My My”. “Blue” has every right to be as popular as it is – it’s part of the new generation of pop music which returns pop to its musical roots. Beat driven lathed with the acoustics of a gorgeous piano melody and subtle strings, “Blue” is well produced, and contains a positive message of motivation and confidence. Likewise, Young’s original ode to rock n’ roll is done justice in an unprecedented manner that features electronic variations of old rock n’ roll elements. Young’s classic voice is adapted to Casault’s drawn-out vocals which add a tone of reminiscence accurate for the song’s inception. Drums are replaced by a collection of shakers, rolling patterns and teardrop beats. Whether or not rock n’ roll has died with the song is, interestingly enough, an existential question left at the end for the listener by the fading echoes.
“I Get It Now” and “Jealous” feature similar elements – the progressive drums, subtle dreamy strings, the electronic synth harmonies – centered around the vocals. “Irrational” stands out in that its focus is not on how the sounds mesh together, but in the beautiful light melodic samples that lift the song to completeness. The vocals become a background and the production is built around this well-crafted tune. “Shapes”, though the vocals takes a slight step back, also features a strong leading string plucked melody. It’s complemented by a beautiful organic viola and accented by a clever drum pattern. Though I appreciate the beauty of the duo’s vocals, I think there’s a lot of potential in harmonizing the vocals in a more intricate manner with the production. It’s for that reason, at this stage in the game, that I prefer the latter two tracks that tell me more about Fjord’s musical development. Varying intonation might be interesting as well, though arguable, since the ambient feeling of their work comes from this curtained veil.
A brilliant EP in itself, Fjord creates graceful music about loss, love and desire, that resounds with its audiences, though it is not unique in its production conception. The boys have come a long way from their first home produced EP back in 2014. Quebecois producer Claude Bégin, who also helped larger names like Karim Ouellet, has nurtured them to develop a mature sound and given them the necessary experience to thrive.
Top Tracks: “Irrational”; “Hey Hey My My”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)