#CHRONIQUE / UK : « VIOLENT SUCCESS »
Bagatelle: Rendez-Vous Transaltlantique — Bagatelle. The name itself has a sort of light, wispy quality. The word sounds like a French pastry, all buttery and airy, and the music on Bagatelle‘s new EP, Rendez-Vous Transatlantique, has that same quality.
‘Jackson’ is the rattling opener that kicks this album off. It’s fun and playful, full of 8-bit sound and stop and go rhythms. At its best, it conjures up the good memories of childhood. With its popping bass line and tingling guitars, it’s one of the album’s best songs. ‘Rose Darling’ is a bit more introspective, but only at first. A pulsing bass line half-way through the song brightens the song up when it drops into play. The final product is a catchy little bossa nova tune that – if you keep listening – you will hear again and again, like in the next song, ‘Tchau Signo’. This tune is unabashedly bossa nova. It’s as if it was ripped right from a 1960s soda pop commercial. It’s also wonderfully acoustic. Listen close enough, and you can even hear the guitar player’s fingers sliding against the frets. And just for good measure, there’s also a nice use of synth in the background. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and it lends a fresh twist to this otherwise overused groove.
Things start to get a little repetitive around ‘In Place of Mr. Cook’. I liked the plucky bass sound on this tune, as well as the innovative doubled voice effect, but in the end, this song sounded like little more than a mash up of the songs that came before it. On an EP like this one, every track should strive to say something different, to demonstrate a new and singular approach. This track certainly didn’t. Neither did ‘Singing Reinette’. While I understood the intention behind this song (Bagatelle was obviously going for an empty, minimalist sound), I felt like they overshot the mark. Things were a little too spacy, and I would have liked a more consistent rhythm. It got there a bit later, but it was too little too late.
‘La Mer a Paris’ was redeeming. I liked the organic hand clapping on this track. It really did wonders for evoking that gentle, Mediterranean vibe. The introduction of synth effects was a pleasant surprise, as was the vibraphone sound that made sporadic appearances. It was a solid closing note for an album that started off sturdy, but sagged heavily in the middle.
Sure, the music is nice in small bites – there are lots of breezy guitar strains and catchy synth loops – but as a whole, the EP comes off as just a bit too rich. A lot of the sounds are repetitive to the point of becoming frustrating, and after a while, the cutesiness of lead singer Andrea Vaughan’s voice goes from being sweet to just plain saccharine. But the thing is, when this EP shines, it really shines. I only wish it could have upheld that luster from beginning to end….
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