Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Malajube, Trompe-L’Oeil

Malajube is an indie rock outfit from Montreal and they are flat out, hands down terrific.  What with Arcade Fire, The Dears, Wolf Parade and Sainte Catherine, Montreal has been getting a lot of malajubefavorable indie music press lately.  All these interesting bands and Malajube doesn’t sound like any of them – or maybe they sound a little bit like all of them along with half a dozen other bands you might think of.  This really is a group that if you don’t like this song, stick around because the next one is likely to be quite different.  They do angular new new wave, they do rap, they do anthemic choruses, they do tight harmony, they do art rock they do . . .  just about everything well.

The band is a quartet composed of Julien Mineau (guitar, vocals), Thomas Augustin (keyboards, vocals), Mathieu Cournoyer (bass) and Francis Mineau (drums, vocals) along with a large supporting cast.  Renaud Bastien (guitar, keyboards) is often listed as a member of the band but his name does not appear on “Trompe L’Oeil”, I don’t know what’s up with that.  The CD opens with “Jus de Cannberges”, a brief bit that sounds like blissed out Cosmic Rough Riders (the first version).  The band then drops “Montreal -40 degrees C” (sorry, I don’t know how to add accents or produce the little circle that stands for “degrees”) a blast of joyous choruses, and smoothed out Franz Ferdinand.  “Fille a’ Plumes” is pounding post punk pogo music, “Etienne d’Aout” has the kind of long aching out chorus that other bands would kill for.  The variety on “Trope-L’Oeil” is remarkable but what’s even more remarkable is that Malajube performs this range of material so well.  Talented group of guys.

You noticed that all the song titles are in French?  So are the vocals.  I have no idea what they’re singing about but the music is so enjoyable I don’t really care.  The CD booklet contains lyrics for those who read more French than I.  Bigots who eat freedom fries with their burgers probably won’t like this CD.

“Trompe L’Oeil” has won several awards in Canada and has been nominated for several more.  It’s one of the best indie rock albums I’ve heard this year.  I like some songs better than others but there’s not a bad tune on the album – with the possible exception of the final track which is “hidden” and I’ve never had the patience to wait around for it.  This is a CD we’ll be listening to every now and again for a long time.  If you like upbeat indie rock check this one out.


08/21/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews


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