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ALBUM REVIEW: Tristesse Contemporaine, Stay Golden

tristessecontemporainealbumTITLE: Stay Golden
BAND: Tristesse Contemporaine
LABEL: Record Makers
RELEASED: November 25th 2013

I love something that is totally different to the run-of-the-mill styles that come up time and time again. Paris trio Tristesse Contemporaine, which translates as Contemporary Sadness, are certainly different! Bringing together house, electronica and even sprinkles of pop and rock, they’re a band who know how to create arty, quirky music from a range of styles.

Stay Golden follows their previous EP Woodwork, which marked their first release under Record Makers. As well as being a collection of original songs spanning a whole scope of genres, it has also been described as poetry celebrating eternal youth. The album certainly has this young, carefree slant to it and it’s really indeed the title reminds us to hold onto our best years.

tristessecontemporaineIt opens with Fire with a retro electronic beat and signature whispery vocal. An apocalyptic theme haunts the opening track and creates an atmosphere that really seeps through you. The obligatory catchy hook is there and you’re left with a great dancing synth at the end. It leads you nicely onto the title track which features a funky snare and deep metallic beat. The vocal takes a sinister turn and there’s an unmistakeable indie electronica. A distant resonating piano can also be heard and ghostly choral tones end things on an eerie mood.

Once again, the weird quirks show on Waiting. Metallic twanging and constant tap comprise the entirety of the first half with a croaking vocal joining. Electronic spirals also decorate the track until the electronic really kicks in. The lyrics are pretty disturbing and there is a lot of death imagery. The female breathy sighs add a touch of sensuality but they’re also pretty spooky.

Perhaps one of the most overtly youthful tracks on the album is Going Out. A bouncing electronic bass is reminiscent of an excited teenager and there’s a great energy in the disco feel of the beat. It has a camp air to it which is so infectious and is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face. Throbbing electronica and theatrical yelps in the back make this one hell of a party track. Another side of being young and free is visited on I Do What I Want. Packed full of attitude and angst, this short and sweet track is led primarily by an alternative guitar. It’s dark and dangerous with electronic spurts and a sexy female French accent interjecting towards the end creating an intriguing echo.

Another glimpse of quirky indie is on Can’t Resist with its spoken word vocal. Slow bass and a clicking rhythm carry along the nasally voice. It’s perfectly simple with drawn out electronic chimes which create an eerie atmosphere. It comes just before the upbeat Burning with its beautiful soundscapes and ethereal patterns. A whining synth and bouncing electronica create a soundtrack which masks the vocals. What little vocal there is has a vampiric quality that is really intriguing.

Reverting back to the camp whispery vocal, Pretend comes back with a fast thumping beat and soft resonating electronics. It’s not the most exciting song on the album but it certainly has its moments such as the breakdown which gives way to the electronic whines creating a rare moment of peace. Ending on Most Times, the album comes to an atmospheric end. Simple melodic electronic strumming begin the closing track with a quirky scraping sound. Soft tinkles and slow laboured vocals characterise it and bring it to an arty end. The soundscapes in the second half are the perfect way to round off a rather avant-garde record.

Tristesse Contemporaine are perfect for those who are looking for something different. It’s also a great choice for fans of house and songs that aim to paint pictures through musical textures. Due to its theme, it’s also ideal for teens who want a break from indie guitar music.

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