A Little Bit of France and Brazil
If there is one constant in life, that constant would be the obscure and beautiful artists the label Drag City chooses to showcase. Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble is one such band that is both bizarre and remarkably easy to listen to. Their album Finding Me Finding You is an exploratory journey of unusual instrumentals and vocals that hypnotize the listener.
The name Laetitia Sadier should be familiar to any of those aware of the French, post-rock genre and to fans of the band Stereolab. On this album, the listener gets to experience the journey that Sadier takes in establishing herself as a solo artist. While the band is called the Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble and features collaborations with other talented musicians, this is undoubtedly a solo record.
The album starts off as a 1960s Brazilian-sounding Jazz piece, featuring vocals from lead singer Sadier, from whom the band take their name. “Undying Love for Humanity” is filled with steel drums, xylophones and other obscure instruments one would never imagine would be combined. Flooding through it are rich vocals that are more a series of noises and scatting than actual lyrics. “Double Voice, Extra Voice” sounds exactly as one would imagine, with Sadier’s vocals layered one over the other, combined with a theremin and synthesizers. The track “Reflectors” is reminiscent of a car passing under streetlamps at night. Each beat comes in stronger at certain points and breaks up the monotony of one solid note.
If listeners recognize something as sounding familiar on “Love Captive,” it is because Sadier has extended an invitation to collaborate with Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor. This track is a cross between Belle & Sebastian and The Carpenters. Whether it’s the mellow and monotonous guitar chords or the way in which Sadier and Taylor’s vocals lightly touch on the lyrics as they sing them, “Love Captive” is sure to stick with the listener.
If there were a way to describe Finding Me Finding You, it would be that it’s the best of Sadier, incorporating all the avant-garde sounds she and her band are known for, but peppered with vocals similar to Serge Gainsbourg and instrumentals appropriate for any dinner party that heavily features Brazilian jazz.