Croque Madame is a coming-together of some very individual creative minds: Dave Perlis, Rob Storey and Florence Raynaud. The French vocals of Raynaud lend an irresistible glamour and breezy sleekness to the project, and this debut album has the feel of an instant alt-pop classic. Out on Emotional Response.
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Pop album of the century! Yes, that’s right, it’s true: this is a pop album of the century. The beguiling (I don’t want to say “alternative”) pop music of Croque Madame is sourced from the minds of three peculiar smart-arses known respectively as Dave Perlis, Rob Storey and Florence Raynaud. They make twinkling tunes that are lounging and emotional in one fell swoop, like if you were crying a little bit in a really cozy chair.
The songs are in French, the melodies are full of feeling, and acoustic guitars are there for the strumming -- so yes, there’s a general soft tweeness to proceedings. Jim Guthrie is weirdly the first artist to pop to mind, due to the record’s sort of chilled lo-fi feel: he would make these kind of melodramatic songs but then subdue them into an economical soft pop landscape, and here the string plucks, bold piano motifs and rotating cast of vocal harmonies all stay relatively quiet in the mix. So too do the trio refuse to overstay their welcome, budgeting their songs for a minute or two at most -- it makes the record feel like a quaint lil’ stage play.
There’s a track called “Natation” with an honest to god harmonica melody: as in, it’s played well, and may just be one of the catchiest things on the record. If that doesn’t clue you in on this record’s rapport with whimsy, I don’t know what will, but know that this record is wonderfully arranged -- it just makes it a secret amidst the rather quirky presentation of things. This one is really fun to play.
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