Which isn't the sort of thing I'd usually bother telling you, but no one else seems to have picked up on it, so I thought I might as well. Seriously, it's ridiculous how conflicted I feel about this. Album reviews? Release news? That's not what I had planned. Anyway, just know how much it pains me to put this picture of the cover up:
As you may be able to see (if you're not distracted by all the pretty colours at the top), it's called The And, a reference to the fact that all but two of the tracks (and even those feature allusions to the overall theme within their respective titles) are duets, mainly with French women. The most noticeable exception is 'Unbroken Hearts', featuring Emma Pollock, a.k.a. the only guest on the album I'd actually heard of.
At first, this disappointed me slightly. While frontman Mickaël Mottet, or 'Angil', hardly has the best voice in the world, it was nonetheless a key element in defining the aesthetic of the band's previous album, Ouliposaliva, and part of the reason I loved that record so much. So with the opening track focusing more than would be desired on the vocal of somebody called Brigitte Vautrin, the first listen through made for an initially unsatisfying experience.
Fortunately, as the album progresses, Mottet manages to gradually impose himself upon it, as well as improving the quality of his song-writing. In fact, the collaborative nature of the record may well prove to be a point in its favour, diluting as it does what, on Ouliposaliva, could at times be an overwhelming sound. Otherwise, it's more of the same blend of pop, jazz and folk, with perhaps a greater musical singularity than before to draw together the many disparate voices.
MySpace: www.myspace.com/angilandthehiddentracks (where lots of tracks from the new album are currently up, so I'm not even going to bother trying to get away with an mp3 upload)
Album available from CD1D.