Review : Malajube - La Caverne
PitchforkFrom Super Furry Animals to Sigur Rós, it's inevitable that non-Anglo artists start singing in English as their international audience grows. But four albums in, proudly Francophone Montrealers Malajube are still happy to get lost in translation, even with two Polaris Music Prize nominations and several Stateside tours under their belts. That said, in Malajube's case, the language barrier is a porous one-- for one, their songs often come with remedial titles that provide easily discernible emotional cues (e.g.: "La Blizzard", "Ibuprofène"), and, much like the Super Furries before them, the band has exhibited a knack for fusing psychedelia, prog- and classic-rock, disco, and new wave into exuberant, easily grasped big-tent indie pop.
Neither as manic as 2006 breakthrough Trompe L'Oeil nor as knotty as 2009's appropriately titled Labyrinthes, La Caverne sees Malajube settle into a lush, soft-rockin' groove that, true to their all-French songwriting policy, suggests the band is completely content playing in its comfort zone; tellingly, the album was recorded in a secluded, custom-built, geodesic-dome house located deep in the Laurentians. (In fact, Malajube sound so blissfully self-contained here, it's not unreasonable to think they're completely oblivious to how much the La Caverne's blue-vector cover graphics resemble those of Daft Punk's Tron soundtrack.) The relatively stress-free recording environment naturally manifests itself in the performances: whether it's smooth yacht-rockin' disco ("Synesthésie") or upbeat, glockenspieled pop ("Radiologie"), singer Julien Mineau's voice rarely wavers from a daydreamy sigh, indicating he has little desire to challenge fellow countrymen Win Butler or Kevin Drew in the crowd-rousing, master-of-ceremonies department....full text
ChartattackMalajube recently said they doubt La Caverne, their fourth studio album, will be their third album to be long- or- short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize.
I seriously doubt they're right, since their track record clearly says otherwise and La Caverne is yet another great work of pop from the Montreal francophone quartet.
There's a lot to love about La Caverne. Unlike 2009's Labyrinthes, it's much more upbeat, and you'll notice while traveling through its songs that it's much more beat-driven that its predecessors. Opener "Synesthesie" practically drips with glee, while the title track is sure to be a single at some point.
And unlike 2006's Trompe-L'oeil and Labyrinthes, La Caverne makes much more extensive use of synths, particularly on "Le Blizzard" and "Chienne Folle." It's also considerably much more slick, in terms of its compositions and its production. There's little of the wackiness that stuck out on tracks like "Montreal -40C" or "Pate Filo" here. But this isn't an album that's meant to do that; most of its songs aren't even over three minutes, and it clocks in at just over half an hour in length, making its point quickly....full text
NxewAlready 7 years have passed since Malajube busted open the Montreal indie-pop music scene with Le compte complet, and made it cool again to listen to french-Canadian music. 4 albums later, the band has toured North-America many times over, a Québecois band (Karkwa) has won a Polaris music Prize, and the guys in Malajube are entering their 30's. How the times have changed.
La caverne can be defined as an album recorded by a band hitting its' stride. The days of experimenting are over, Malajube wants to get down to business and they seem to have no time to waste.
First single Synesthésie is classic Malajube. 3 minutes of perfect indie pop magic.
Other album highlights include Cro-Magnon, Sangsues and Le Blizzard.
Where Malajube's 2009 album Labyrinthes featured extended and overdubbed guitar solos, La caverne features more keyboards and seems to develop on the space-fuzz disco dance sound the band had briefly developed for a show entitled Cubes rubiques, which they presented in 2010....full text
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