Thursday, May 1, 2008

Quick-hitters:: Pas Chic Chic

Canada's official second language is French, but for some reason there aren't many people who actually listen to any French speaking bands. In all honesty, if you ask 90% of Canada about French music, they will make a Mitsou or Roch Voisine joke and move on. But there are an ever growing number of talented indie bands that more than deserve a listen, but for some reason their sounds seem to be getting lost in the translation.

Over the last couple of years people have warmed to acts like Les Breastfeeders and Malajube and I think the next francophone act qui d'exploser est Montreal's Pas Chic Chic. Somehow this quintet manages to take big risks by combining interesting elements and styles, but the end result is near perfect pop music. It would be easy to comment on the lush arrangements full of psychedelics and the warm fuzz they create, but the songs don't fall into such an easy to cite descriptor. If you try to picture some musical theatre, 60's French pop, atmospheric, dark shoegaze hybrid filled up with strings and the occasional machine gun drum part... well you are sort of half way there.

The songs are dark and yet summery, heavy and still light and that's probably because the many influences and experiences the band members bring to the table. Singer/guitarist Roger Tellier-Craig (godspeed! you black emperor), guitarist Radwan Moumneh (Cursed) , drummer Eric Fillion (Cobra Noir, The Black Hand, and IRE) and bassist Eric Gingras (Fly Pan Am, Ghislain Poirer) all bring different sounds and textures to the mix and the way those sounds fuse with Marie-Douce's floating vocals is terrific.

Songs can break down into heavy, static noise (Vous Comprenez Pourquoi), float like a tropical breeze (Plein Soleil), but for the most part they come across as unique sound collages that are impossible to ignore. The acoustic pulse of Tes Clichés Déclenchés and subtle drum fills adds a heightened sense of urgency to the track, even with the swirling, atmospheric textures that dance around the song, trying to calm everything down.

If Au Contraire was written in English, it would end up being on a lot of year end lists. As it stands, we can only hope that people are open minded enough to really soak in the songs and appreciate that there is something special about Pas Chic Chic.

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Posted at 3:34 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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