Released on Valentine’s Day, French-Canadian psych-pop-cum-rap-cum-experimental noise trio Phedre’s self-titled debut album is a wacky and weird ode to all the aspects of love and lust. Marketed on the group’s Facebook page as a “sleazy/dirty/sexy/romantic” hybrid of sound, the album combines electronic melodies with catchy and sometimes nonsensical wordplay to serve up a delicious, sweet, sticky stew of fun.
Leading off Phedre is the slow-burning noise droner “Tragique” which melts into the strangely haunting “Aphrodite,” a track whose instrumentals are partially composed of the sounds of an automated barking toy dog juxtaposed next to hymnal backing vocals. This first half of the album, ending with the bass-heavy, punky lament of “Ode to the Swinger,” firmly establishes Phedre as the Quebecoise answer to Ariel Pink, or at the very least, a goofier, less ear-splitting John Maus. The song most representative of Phedre’s oeuvre is the groovy, Of Montreal- esque “In Decay.” Accompanied by a very much NSFW music video, the song combines child-like vocals and an infectious hook to deliver what the band itself has described as a “spontaneous, half-drunken explosion.” The sense of longing explored on the following tracks “Dreams” and “Love Ablaze” are a first for the band but they connects sonically to the rest of the album through their use of ambient, head-bobbing bleeps and bloops and use of found sound. “Love Ablaze” is a stands out as an especially notable track on the album due to its lyrical content. Oddly reminiscent of 1960s’ wall-of-sound girlpop, full of swooning “oohs” and “aahs,” not dissimilar to the the music of the Shangri-La’s, the song provides an interesting detour from the rest of the fare otherwise heard on the album.
Clocking in at roughly 30 minutes, the entire album produces the effect of eating a bounty of foreign, off-brand sugary snacks–odd and full of flavors, but certainly tasty. Sure, you might get a stomach ache, but as the album’s last song “Glitter on Her Face” suggests, “What does it matter?”: You should do what you wanna do all the time, even if the whole world tells you no.
Stream all of Phedre’s self-titled album at Soundcloud.