November 9, 2006

Malajube's Trompe L'Oleil

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Given that you can’t always, it’s good to eavesdrop on foreign indie scenes. Keeping your ear tuned to other parts of the world steers you away from provincialism and, even better, keeps your tastes open.
Trompe L’Oleil, by Quebec’s Malajube, demonstrates the great strengths of imported music; it appeals to American independent music tastes while consistently confounding the listener’s prediction. The album is all over the place, both Vaudevillian and punk in “Ton Ta Savory,” melancholy and crashing in “Etienne Vaute,” even running into inexplicable French rap in “La Russe.” Luckily, the album is almost artful, tightly-controlled, and very accessible. Beyond the exotic strength of being written entirely in French, the hooks satisfy, the songs are appropriately long, and the oohing chorus gives the native English speaker just enough vocals. The lyrical content seems irrelevant makes me wonder how they think about American rock in French-Canada, too.