The morning after arriving home from All Tomorrow’s Parties: End of an era part 2 I set about purchasing releases from a few of the acts that impressed me. One of those acts was French trio Les Colettes, notable for being entirely different to everything else I experienced at the festival. Their live set grabbed me the moment it began and easily held my attention throughout, a trait I’m pleased to say has also successfully transferred to record.
Since I’ve only just become aware of the band, I had my first experience of both the self-titled EP that was released back in 2011 and the EP ‘Children’ from earlier this year in the same evening.
While all having a very similar feel about them, each track on the self-titled release ventures into a different aspect of the sound. The opening song ‘Clearwaters’ is very vocal harmony focussed while ‘A Night’s Joke’ saves the harmonies for a crescendo in the middle of the song, introducing more stand alone backing vocals. ‘Five Doors’ sits in the middle of the track listing and is the first to put the guitar at the forefront. The fourth track ‘Kimberley’ seems to take all my favourite parts of the opening tracks and combine them to make up my favourite track from the EP. The EP’s closer ‘Pearl’ exudes a very theatrical sound that sounds like a perfect soundtrack to the end of the world. I can’t be sure why that is, but the proceeding bible verse warning me to “beware false prophets” may go some way to providing clues.
The second EP ‘Children’ starts with the track ‘Tipsy Toes’, it makes excellent use of a muted violin sound that I really enjoy, I’d certainly be pleased to hear more of it in future recordings. As the EP progresses through the David Lynch/Peter Ivers cover ‘In Heaven’ then ‘Walking’ and ‘Edelweiss’ the sound feels more established than the earlier release, but none of the intrigue has been taken away and it still sounds fresh. The violin does an excellent job of lifting the vocals throughout, leading to often haunting and mesmerising melodies, not least on the occasionally unsettling ‘Rififilles’, though most of the unsettling nature can be attributed to the almost childlike “la la la” backing vocals. The final track quickly turns in to a chant and I shall never forget that “in the jungle, everything seems quiet”.
These two EPs taken together provide 11 tracks, totalling around 50 mins duration. Despite the slightly more polished recording of the songs on ‘Children’, I think they sit happily together and could almost be considered two parts of the same album. It wouldn’t be an album designed to get a party started, but sit back, let it wash over you, and when it’s done I expect like me you will be eagerly awaiting the next Les Colettes offering.
For a taste of what’s on offer, why not listen to one, or both, of these tracks available on youtube: