fri 12/08/2022

Album: Mathieu Boogaerts - En Anglais | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Mathieu Boogaerts - En Anglais

Album: Mathieu Boogaerts - En Anglais

The spirit of Chanson comes to south London

Mathieu Boogaerts has been recording since the mid 1990s, emerging from the nouvelle chanson scene in Paris, a chansonnier who’s performed at the likes of Cafe Oto over here, while establishing himself as a star turn on the Tôt ou Tard label in France, mixing Afro-pop and reggae as well a

s indie electronica and folk into his chanson. He’s previously based himself in Paris, Brussels and Nairobi, and now, London, where he’s spent the past five years living in the hinterland between Clapham and Brixton. Out of that sterling cultural exchange experience comes his first English-language album, previewed on the day the UK officially left the EU on January 1 with the lead single ‘Am I Crazy?’. It’s confessional and contemplative rather than political, but nevertheless, a loveable aural charm, and like the resulting album, steeped in wistful reflections on love and connection, jealousy, regret, desire, happiness and curiosity.


While he may have switched from mother tongue to English, the music is irrefutably Francophile, light as a feather, charm personified, the kind of music you might hear soundtracking the likes of Netflix series Call My Agent. Tinkling keyboards, lap steel and melodic little guitar lines that sound like they’ve just learnt to walk are topped by Boogaerts’s intimate, delicate, almost whispered vocals that sound as close as skin on skin, conspiring to seduce the ear and play the heart strings. Few of the album’s 11 songs pass the three-minute mark, but they’re perfectly turned miniatures, making merit of what he describes as his “not-so-good English” to paint dreamily minimalist word pictures light as gossamer but full of feeling. His chanson from South London beguiles, charms and gives off the kind of light and heat that proves to be tender enveloping.

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