A Bitter Desire
Dance pop is essentially like a child; it’s easy to make and even easier to screw up. That is in most part due to carelessness, a carelessness that runs rampant across so many genres these days. When raised right, dance pop can be a florid mélange of mellowness carried along by waves of carefully calibrated synths and a bourgeoning of bright beats.
The Montreal-based electro-dance-pop trio Le Couleur have been good parents since the start, taking their time and nurturing the songs which appeared on their 2010 debut Origami; the album that put them on the radar not only in in their home town, but also throughout the synth-loving lands of Western Europe. And rightly so as Origami certainly brought new life to a genre which very often seems like a hall of mirrors. Origami contained such experimental works as “Une fille,” with its electric guitars paired with the iridescent vocals of Quebecoise-Vietnamese front woman Laurence G-Do. The track plays like a 60’s psych-pop girl-punk-band. Then there is the clubby eighties inspired “Origami” as hard edged as it is easy listening.
The success of Origami led to Le Couleur eventually teaming up with the French producer French Fox who produced their follow up EP Voyage Love in 2013. Voyage Love also saw collaboration with Brooklyn-based electro-rock duo French Horn Rebellion contributing to a track to the album, as Le Couleur continued to push the boundaries of what electronic dance pop could be, while still staying within the boundaries of the genre itself.
On their latest EP Dolce Désir Le Couleur seem have taken a wrong turn. With only five songs, Dolce Désir is rife with bubble gummy afterthoughts. The songs lack the depth of Le Couleur earlier work, and many of the five tracks come off sounding like something off of NPR’s World Music Café from the mid-nineties. Both the opener “Club Italien” and the proceeding “Concerto Rock” sound like they were made for a Japanese karaoke machine, and “Autovariation #64” sounds a like bad Kraftwerk rip-off.
There are moments on Dolce Désir that are reminiscent of Le Couleur’s earlier material, such as “Tendresse Particulière” with its steely jazz guitar riffs and ball bouncing beats that intertwine with the rippling piano melody. The closer “Télé-Jeans” is a futuristic fugue of synthetic dance pop and acts as a capstone for Dolce Désir.
A full length album offers more room for error and more room for forgiveness, but on an EP every song must count, doing its best to contribute to the greater success of the whole. Unfortunately the two passable tracks on Dolce Désir simply aren’t strong enough themselves to hold the little EP up.