Monday 3 June 2013

Exsonvaldes - Lights

Album review by

'Days' is the perfect opener on Exsonvaldes' album 'Lights'. A sparkling, bouncing indie pop song. It has elements of fellow French compatriots Phoenix, and also sits alongside Athlete, Vampire weekend and Bombay Bicycle Club. It has a sugar-filled chorus of "here is for the days we waited" and you are hooked in within its first play. It rushes past on a thrilling pop buzz. 'Let's Go' can only sound more tempered in comparison to 'Days', but only slightly so. 'Lets Go ' is all Police-style bass lead, and Exsonvaldes inject another huge, addictive chorus, brought alive with stabbing synths and a statement of intent in "never can give it up". 'Let's Go' then sweeps you up to a quite glorious finish.

An exquisite 'Lovecats' chiming riff brings in third track 'L'aerotrain'. My french doesn't surpass the ordering of a beer, so I can only hazard (with the help of ubiquitous Google) that 'L'aerotrain' is a homage to the lost travel marvel of the hovertrain. Despite my ignorance, 'L'aerotrain' glides along on that sublime bass and echoing guitars and suitably train-like precise rhythmic drums; a melodic cruise of a song. 'Seahorses' is the most restrained and mellow so far on 'Lights'. A lyrical peon to love not lasting. A seductive and concise song that washes over you in a state of controlled serenity. With a sheen and colour close to Empire of the Sun, 'Action' sees Exsonvaldes executing a electro-pop stand-out. It has touches of the wide-eyed wonder of  'Kids'-era MGMT, quickly establishing itself as a highlight on 'Lights'. You find the simple mantra of "every action needs reaction" climbs inside your head and refuses to leave. Again apologies for my sheer lack of French fluency. Jaunty, melodically rich, warm and simple track 'L'inertie' skips along with a foot-tapping glee.

Sharp, angular 'Guns' takes you on another incandescent electro trip. It is filled with hyper-coloured sounds and hits you with a kaleidoscopic head-rush; a song that would fill dance floors anywhere. 'Lights' then makes its first falter with its title-track. It is almost trying too hard, all upbeat piano that lends a late '90s Britpop feel, when after the glamour and style that has thrilled us so far 'Lights' doesn't quite shine as it should. 'On n'a rein vu venir' hits you like a great lost track from Bowie and the 'NeverEnding Story'. It's a whirlwind of pure pop bliss which isn't dimmed by my utter lack of lyrical understanding. My four year old daughter was instantly dancing and asked for it again, which shows it's class. 'Lights' ends perfectly with 'Nineties'. It takes elements of The Cure, pop and contemporary indie to leave you dancing to a homage to lost youth, looking back with rose-tinted glasses. 'Lights' is a bright, strong album filled with songs that make you dance and want to revisit time after time.

Exonvaldes' website

Stream or buy the album

Catch them live:

Jun 09 Domaine national de Saint-Cloud, Saint-Cloud, France
Jul 06 Jalles House Rock Festival, Saint-M├ędard-En-Jalles, France
Jul 19 Dour Festival, Dour, Belgium
Aug 10 Brussels Summer Festival, Brussels, Belgium
Sep 06 South Pop Festival, Isla Cristina, Spain

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