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CD: Juniore - Magnifique | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Juniore - Magnifique

CD: Juniore - Magnifique

Glistening, archetype-aware second album from Parisian pop stylists

Juniore's 'Magnifique': exceedingly likeable

At 29 minutes, the second album from Paris’s Juniore is short. But as it makes its point, it’s hard to hear how it needs to be longer. Magnifique opens with “Ça Balance”, a harmony-drenched vapour trail suggesting a kinship with the great French Eighties band Antena. It’s that good. As is the rest of this album.

Nodding to Sixties archetypes such as John Barry, Ennio Morricone and late-decade Françoise Hardy as well as the synth-pop of early Elli et Jacno, the glistening surf-inclined bricolage pop heard across Magnifique’s eight tracks could have appeared in the shops 30 years ago without eyebrows being raised. There's even a post-punk fidgetiness. In effect, Juniore are post-post-modernists. Fittingly, their first album was titled Ouh Là Là.

Juniore’s prime mover is songwriter and vocalist Anna Jean Le Clézio, the daughter of the Nobel Prize-winning writer JMG Le Clézio. Ten years ago, she issued an unexceptional folky, acoustic guitar-centred English-language album as half of the duo Domingo. The other half, Samy Osta, is Magnifique’s producer. He also plays on the new album and is, presumably, the hood-shrouded bass player credited as The Thing who plays with them live. Juniore surfaced in 2013. Three years later, Le Clézio contributed guest vocals to Justice’s Woman album.

Despite Juniore’s lineage, the exceedingly likeable Magnifique doesn’t fit received notions of contemporary French pop music. Though a sub-strata of edgy Sixties-influenced garage rock has been perceptible for decades, it’s not broken out beyond the boundaries of continental European shows and festivals focusing on the scene: one Juniore are not part of, notwithstanding their use of analogous building blocks. Looking to the indie mainstream, Juniore lean more towards the similarly minded but rockier predecessors Plasticines or the currently active and hipster-friendly Melody’s Echo Chamber. Being out there on their own may be to Juniore’s advantage. So may their choice to sing in French. Standing apart can be difficult, but in this case it draws attention to a warm, winning album.

'Magnifique' doesn’t fit received notions of contemporary French pop music


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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