Bonjour mes amis et bienvenue à un examen de la très merveilleuse bande la plus récente de libération de LAZULI. Il est si bon de vous de prendre le temps de lire cet éloge de leur nouvel album ‘Nos âmes saoules’.
Enough of my schoolboy French, I hope any misinterpretation doesn’t offend.
Hello my friends and welcome to a review of the quite marvelous band LAZULI’s latest release. It is so good of you to take the time to read this praisee of their new album ‘Nos âmes saoules’.
I’d like to start by ignoring the band and thank a couple of people without whom I might never have heard of our French import. Firstly the lovely Nellie Pitts (The Merch Desk), if not for her efforts in bringing the band to these shores, they may have passed me by. Secondly the big man that is Derek William Dick, for inviting these fine gentlemen to support him on his last tour.
I have to admit I saw them live before I bought any of the band’s output and what a revelation. The band did split in 2009, thankfully, some of the original members continued and recruited new musicians to form the current, extremely talented bunch who recorded this latest offering.
Mesdames et Messieurs puis-je vous présenter, sorry, Ladies and Gentlemen may I present to you:
Claude Leonetti (Leode), Gederic Byar (Guitar), Romain Thorel (Keyboards and French Horn), Vincent Barnavol (Drums and Marimba) and Dominique Leonetti (Vocals and Guitar).
Now to the meat of the matter, or tofu for any vegetarians among us, the album, ‘Our Souls Drunk’, sorry, ‘Nos âmes saoules’…….
Le Temps Est À La Rage: (Time is to rage)
Starting with slow, melancholy piano and Dominique’s distinctive vocals on this, the first and longest track of the album, may to newcomers, not seem the best way to start. But, keep faith you will be rewarded as the tone changes to a brighter key, picks up tempo into a swaying melody and the band’s familiar ‘musical box’ melodies drift in. Muted guitar throbs in the background then the rest join the fray as the track builds to finally burst out into some wonderful ‘Floyd’ style soloing..
Le lierre: (The Ivy)
Romain’s flourishing keyboards open proceedings and, for me, this is the track on which Dominique’s vocals really excel as he hits the highs from a whispering start. Now, it’s at this point I have to confess that, unless I am watching them, I sometime’s find it hard to distinguish who’s taking the lead between Claude and his wonderful Leode and the soaring guitar of Gederic, but, when a band plays this well who cares? I find this really uplifting and feel this would sit very well as part of a film soundtrack.
By now my pitiful knowledge of the French language is lost and in the emotion of the music I have somehow forgotten this is not being sung in English, this only seems to enhance the experience, and so on to track three…
Vita est circus: (Vita is circus)
Roll Up, Roll Up, listen to the show. A veritable ‘whirlwind’ of instruments, including acoustic guitar and vocals, as we waltz through the verses and a chorus vaguely reminiscent of Yes, round and round we go in circles to the circus style rhythms, Gederic’s rocket of a guitar solo spacing out, leave you pleasantly dizzy, as the tune echoes away from us.
Fanfare lente: (Slow wind)
A lovely musical interlude, the shortest track on the album, with Romain demonstrating his skills on the french horn (well it wouldn’t be an English tuba, would it?), is the band’s entry for the next Hovis advert. This wouldn’t be out of place on a Big Big Train release. It floats slowly past you, as a brass band would, and disappears toward the horizon, drifting into the distance.
Chaussures À Nos Pieds: (Shoes at our feet)
This is a slightly more serious sounding track, with Vincent’s marimba taking the lead in alongside the vocals. Again the rythms swirl, round and round, rising and dipping, in and out the track turns, tripping into a funky groove until guitar and leode cut in and speed up into a fine piece of shredding/soloing to climax abruptly as if the needle were lifted from the disk.
Le Mar Du Passé: (The march of the past)
Pulsing keyboards beep and fizzle, this could be mistaken for the start of a Riverside track. At times, there is a hint of Peter Gabriel in the composition, whispered vocal passages burst into passionate choruses with a doomish guitar. It all ends with just the vocals, pleading.
Le Labour D’un Surin: (Plowing a Superintendent)
Static, sound effects, a heartbeat rythm and background dialogue slither along in dark corners, finishing in an eerie scream on this creepy little instrumental passage that leads to…
Les sutures: (The sutures)
Breathless vocals and music which could have been used as the soundtrack to the current ‘Vikings’ TV series, drifting instrumentation woven with a sense of ambient dread, adding menacing guitar and a little middle eastern flavour, conjuring visions of a passing caravanerserie of the doomed, toward it’s finale.
Nos âmes saoules: (Our souls drunk)
Drifting, dreamy keyboards from Romain and ‘theramin’ type ribbons of music, (Mercury Rev anyone?), interlace with Dominique’s vocals, all of this in ambient patterns, until you find yourself sinking into the music and becalmed.
Which leads us along this journey to the last but by no means least track….
Un Oiel Jeté Par La Fenêtre: (A look thrown out the window)
Oh look! A balloon floating by on the gentle breeze, conjured by a wonderful piano refrain. It bobs, it weaves and dances gently away as we look wistfully on wishing we could follow.
And there we have it, not an album to be technically examined , but a wondrous tale of which you can be part. Lay back and revel in the versatile elegance of the wizards, LAZULI.
Released 20th January 2016