fri 07/08/2020

Christine and the Queens/Instagram review - musical missives during lockdown | reviews, news & interviews

Christine and the Queens/Instagram review - musical missives during lockdown

Christine and the Queens/Instagram review - musical missives during lockdown

French singer-songwriter's petits cadeaux for her fans

Christine and the Queens released a surprise new EP last monthJamie Morgan

Since she burst onto the global scene in 2014 with her debut album, Chaleur humaine, Christine and the Queens' (aka Chris, real name Héloïse Letissier) work has been difficult to pin down. Is the French pansexual singer-songwriter-performance artist's music synth-pop, alt-pop or, as she describes it, “freakpop”?

No matter, because her records – the latest is February's surprise release of a six-track EP, La Vita Nuova, about a difficult time in her life – prove that she is endlessly inventive, both with music and lyrics (Letissier's as happy speaking and singing in English as she is in French). In addition, her work always packs an emotional and sensual punch that has won her an army of fans worldwide, with whom she regularly corresponds on social media.

So it was no surprise that Letissier has for the past week or so reached out during the coronavirus lockdown worldwide, posting regular updates on her Instagram account with performances recorded in Studios Ferber near where she lives in Paris. She promises to help her fans through “the ennui” of #ensemblealamaison (together at home).

The posts vary in length from a few minutes to a quarter of an hour, from a brief written message to songs from the new EP (performed beautifully to just a piano accompaniment), and some cracking covers (including The Weekend's “Blinding Lights”). Oh, and a post of Letissier dancing as if nobody's watching to Childish Gambino's “Time”.

And while she can't recreate the spectacle of her astonishing, life-affirming shows, there's all the playfulness that we have come to expect of Letissier – one post is a simple message about looking after animals while she is seated beside an animatronic tiger; in another the Frenchwoman, who is joyously expressive of her sexuality, sings Steve Lacy's “N Side” (“My darling / Inside, inside, tell me, is it inside?”), sitting astride a chair, Christine-Keeler-like. I'm guessing most people watching – male or female, gay or straight – would envy that chair.

Also worth catching before it disappears from BBC Sounds on Friday 3 April is the session Letissier recorded for Annie Mac's Radio 1 show – five tracks from the new EP – just before lockdown in Paris.

She told Mac of her need to keep busy, so – apart from releasing Instagram cadeaux to her fans during the lockdown – Letissier revealed she is writing new material. 

“It's weird as it was not expected [that I would] write another album right now, but I'm making the most of the situation,” she said. “And creatively [the lockdown] sparks a dystopian perspective and you start to dream about creepy musicals and things like that.” I can't wait for the result.

There's all the playfulness that we have come to expect of Letissier

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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