thu 16/07/2020

CD: L’Impératrice - Matahari | reviews, news & interviews

CD: L’Impératrice - Matahari

CD: L’Impératrice - Matahari

Crafted Gallic disco-pop debut that emanates sleek summery allure

Welcome to sultry times

The French have developed an international reputation for a certain smooth style of electronic music. It’s the place where disco and house collide with something more urbane and far less sweaty. Daft Punk provided a defining moment with their 2013 album Random Access Memories, but the sound referred to is touched upon all the way from the louche downtempo of Air to more recent yacht rock sumptuousness from Papooz. And now L’Impératrice arrive to join the party.

The toast of Parisian hipsters for a while, L’Impératrice (The Empress) now release their debut album and it’s sleek as an invitation to cocktails at a Pampelonne private beach club. Fronted by the supremely chic Flore Benguigui, there’s a sensuality to Matahari that comes to the fore on cuts such as “Vacances”, “Entre Deux” and “Ballad Fantôme”, wherein she adopts a breathy whisper that brings to mind Jane Birkin’s work with Serge Gainsbourg. Most of the time, however, she sings in an easy sweet voice riding bubbly disco turns such as the title track.

Band leader Charles de Boisseguin adheres to a sun-dappled pop vision, tempered by occasional dancefloor grooves such as the funk jam “Matahari Returns”, which sounds like it would be a live highlight. His music will be too glossy and knowing for some, but it also glows with a certain warmth: while it lacks urgency, it boasts polish and a lush tunefulness.

There are songs that have crossover potential. The honeyed melodies of “Error 404”, the head-nodding catchiness of “Ma Starlight”, and the lush Daft Punk-ish appeal of “Dreaming of You” and “Some Paradise” all sound built for summertime Spotify playlists, ripe and ready to fizz from speakers as holiday-makers prepare to head for the bar. The music of L’Impératrice is light and fluffy but may yet move them beyond the realms of the cult band.

Below: Watch the original version of "Erreur 404" (in French) live in Brussels

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