Produced by Etienne Daho (80’s French pop music icon), Lou Doillon‘s first album came out on September 3rd, 2012. Daughter to Jane Birkin and Jacques Doillon (music and cinema legends), and half-sister to Charlotte Gainsbourg (another cinema and music celebrity, daughter of Serge Gainsbourg), the pressure is quite high for Lou Doillon. First an actress, she also has experience in the fashion world. After meeting Daho who helped demystify the weight of the family empire, she signed both lyrics and music herself.

“When I met Etienne Daho, I had money problems, I was sad, I wasn’t going out much, I was taking refuge inside my music. Everything happened at the point where I wasn’t expecting anything anymore.” said Doillon to the Nouvel Observateur.

To begin with, her voice is mixed in really close, very intimately connected to you. It’s like she’s singing right there in your ear with her slight muted-back-of-the-throat-Amy-Winehouse type of timbre.

The overall atmosphere of the album is quite grey and brown, passé, like a hipster photo. There is a definite depressive vibe to it, as she admitted herself. Yet it’s oddly comforting. The lyrics are not really telling something new, but it’s well crafted and the poetry of it goes back to the coloring. The emotions are clearly transcribed in a simple yet powerful language. The words comfort us in this sort of Western Civilization blazé culture. Sounds drab, but the reality in it brings us hope because now that it’s on paper and recorded on a CD, it’s been digested and spit out, ready to move on to something else. So in the grey, there is a tiny bright light.

 

The album goes over some pretty universal clichés of love lost, jealousy, regrets etc. But the production and the execution is so tight and sensitive that it becomes a delightful pleasure within the minimal themes. It all evokes the way we can feel so small and simple inside depression, yet have an almost unconsciously brilliant expressive power hiding behind this distress.
It’s pretty much a Sunday night blues album!

Some positive highlights of the album for me are: “ICU” for it’s slow memorable melody and the way it rolls out. The nostalgic minimalist folk “Devil or Angel”. “Hushaby” is slow and repetitive, dreamy but confidant, backed by an unequal mood. “Places” builds up slowly with a children’s choir in the background and a simple and clean piano.

 
I enjoyed most of the album except for “Make a Sound”. I don’t know if it’s the strange country feel (though well mastered by the musicians!!) or maybe because the beat also reminded me too much of a day at an Oktoberfest celebration… Whatever it is, I skip it. But besides that, I wasn’t expecting anything, so it’s not that I was pleasantly suprised, it’s that I was happy to be listening to such a well produced, clean, sincere folk album.

Her next one was recorded in Montreal with Taylor Kirk (Timber Timbre), and will come out on October 9th, 2015 . A first single came out a few weeks ago (Review here).

LOU DOILLON
Places
(Barclay, 2012)

-Genre: indie ambiant folk

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About The Author

Séverine Baron
Collaborator - RREVERB

Classical pianist in the great times of wearing braces, insomniac sound engineer with a headphone imprint on my skull, and also (mostly?) electro acoustic music composer during my existential self-questioning evenings. Mother to two garden gnomes, community manager and freelancer scribbler.