Couleur Dessin’s debut release is a whimsical mishmash of contemporary commentary, ‘60s pop, flashes of outer space, and the avant-garde. Listening to this album is like sipping spiked Gatorade while talking about current events with your friends at an anti-café where French New Wave films are projected onto the walls, and early songs by the Velvet Underground play softly in the background. All is absurd. All is wonderful.
Racing trails of synths and keyboard draw us into the opening track, “Find Me Easily.” On the one hand, the playful instrumental evokes a similarity to the peppy pop of the ‘60s, causing it to seem slightly nostalgic. However, on the other hand, the lyrics focus on our 21st century need to occupy every waking moment with unimportant tasks. Therefore, in its own way, “Find Me Easily” commences the bridging of old and new that reappears throughout the album.
Moreover, with “(Train Track),” Couleur Dessin create a cool minute-long piece, which mixes shrieking synths with wavering string sounds and burgeoning percussion. The song’s gripping soundscape makes “(Train Track)” sound like it could have been taken straight out of one of Chabrol’s new wave thrillers. In a similar vein, “Etk Trop Froid…” takes us on an enjoyable yet strange thirty-second trip. The scattered drumming and the cross between chants and mumbles make this track one of the most memorable (and bizarre) parts of the album.
What’s more, with “Have It so Good” and “Whirling Past,” Couleur Dessin develop captivating cosmic soundscapes. The combination of whirring synths, mechanical drumming, and emotionless vocals on “Have It so Good” gently consumes us. More so, on “Whirling Past,” staticky rumblings and bits of consonant notes drive the instrumental as the vocals float above. The result is a beautifully haunting Major Tom meets Dr. Dave Bowman (of 2001: A Space Odyssey) lost in space sensation.
Then, with “Tête Démultipliée,” Couleur Dessin set speak-singing to an ambient instrumental. The echoey effect applied to the vocals, in addition to the repetitious yet entrancing instrumental, make the track sound like a rediscovered broadcast – signaling the close of Couleur Dessin’s debut.
Top Tracks: “Find Me Easily” and “Whirling Past”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)