Thursday, September 11, 2008

elodieO -- Stubborn (2008)

elodieO -- Stubborn (Mulatta)

This is cool and sexy music with a vibe that is both Swingin’ ‘60s and absolutely modern. Elodie Ozanne is a French chanteuse who has bounced around the French and New York music scenes (she’s worked with Brazilian Girls) and has developed some chops. Her breathy vocals match her gamine image, and sound great with the electronic soundscapes she’s created.

Some of these songs are reminiscent of the spate of femme fronted Swedish electro-pop bands that sprang out of Sweden earlier this decade. A good example of this is "Milk and Honey". The song starts with Elodie singing over light backing: "There is a land of milk and honey/it’s a strange and marvelous country they say." The music kicks in a bit, with Elodie’s "ba ba" backing vocals and hints of ‘60s soft pop waiting to burst out. The song is keyed by the tension between the main musical motifs, which are kind of chilly, and the interludes of perkiness. Texture rules here.

This is proceeded by "Wake Up Without You", a very sexy tune. The song again starts with Elodie’s voice front and center, stressing pure intimacy. Then the music shifts into a light pulsing dance vibe -- somewhat in a Saint Etienne vein. From there, the song moves into a disco mode, with echoing guitar, percolating synths and distant keyboard lines intertwining. The interludes with Elodie doing more of her "ba bas" over this insinuating backing track sound made for a hip French film, coming soon to an indie house near you. The cello part in the middle just puts this great track over the top.

The most danceable track is "Cuckoo". It takes a couple of minutes before hitting grooveland. But once it does, it’s a nice slab of electro-disco, suitable for all clubbing needs. Elodie pans her vocals around at times, and mixes the array of keyboards very well. Yes, the track slows down for a bit, but it’s mostly percolating.

Meanwhile, "Home" is cloaked in mystery. The backing track has a bit of a grime feel to it, with skittering electronic percussion. The cheery romantic sentiments melt into a lush melody, with Elodie singing, "I couldn’t love you more." This is probably her best vocal performance on the entire disc.

If there is one knock on the album, the "start slow and move the tempo along" motif is used on just about every song. She needs to work on varying her approach a bit. But she shows that she has a lot of songwriting and arranging talent, and should be capable of a more well rounded album the next time around.

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