A winsome musical whirlwind
Following a rather teasing series of single releases, Paris-based alternative rock band La Femme has released their fifth collection Paradigmes early this month. This album can be generally described as psych-punk, although La Femme is known to neglect one clean stylistic definition in each album. Paradigmes feature sounds of jazz, pop, electro, rock and even a splash of country. The collage of genres creates rich diversity in each track, as well as the feeling of travel through song. La Femme is known for their lack of a clear storyline following each collection they put out, and Paradigmes is no exception. With this montage of musical styles, however, rich texture is imbued within the album and creates the illusion of a traveling storyline.
Paradigmes is brass-heavy and psychedelic, alluded by the cover of the album itself. Every piece is high energy and rapturous, a true sensory journey. “Paradigme” kicks off with a jazz-inspired tune, heavy on the brass. “La sang de mon prochain” introduces a soft guitar and female vocals that sing in French. The collection constantly shifts from French to English, although the language of the vocals is not a concern as the ability of the background music speaks for itself. Spooky chords linger in the background like a stealthy ghost, these chords appearing many times throughout the album, most notably in tracks such as “Pasadena” and “Lâcher de chevaux.”
“Cool Colorado” introduces groovy rhythms that are mellow, followed by “Foutre le bordel,” contrasting it with ’90- inspired pop and driving electric guitar. “Disconnexion” begins with a deceptive steady drum beat and guitar features, then gets interrupted with a shocking banjo moment, shifting the tune’s genre to country. This piece is a clear collage between country dance music and horror movie soundtrack features. The tune then mellows out to the same steady drum beat and guitar as the beginning, and the following piece, “Foreigner,” picks up exactly where “Disconnexion” left off, using its ending as a beginning. “Foreigner” is sung completely in English.
The galactic adventure of Paradigmes is distinct and entrancing. The swirl of themes that somehow come together in the end to make perfect sense is successful and fascinating. One will easily get lost in its galactic themes and come out on the other side, having learned a lot more about the limits and boundaries of musical genres, as well as what happens when you break them.