Thursday, December 7, 2023
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Le Couleur – Comme dans un penthouse Review

Failed scribblings from GCSE French do not lend themselves to deciphering the simple words found in Le Couleur’s latest album. A dream apartment type found in the last word of Comme dans un penthouse is all this feeble brain can figure out. Either way, it matters not what the rest of it means, an inkling of an idea is there but nothing fully formed. You do not need graded confirmation of foreign languages to enjoy Le Couleur’s latest, tech-inspired synthwaves. Rising and rising like a kettle on the boil comes Comme dans un penthouse, the opening Autobahn holding obvious namesake distractions with Kraftwerk, but nothing other than nodding glances. Le Couleur has a superior track relating to German highway infrastructure.  

Immediately likeable instrumental forms are the key here, and Addiction brings this through with flair. Whining away like a drill in some room beyond your own, a wailing electric guitar spluttering out into the ears before ending just as soon as it starts. This instrumental sway holds firm throughout Comme dans un penthouse, a stylish manoeuvre which finds great comfort in itself and sticks around with an impressionable flourish. A funk on the bassline riding À la rencontre de Barbara is enough to win even the most rigid of listeners over. Roaring through as a clear high for the album, it is hard not to fall for the structure and rhythm which come through Le Couleur’s collaborative efforts. Steeven Chouinard with some brief vocal play and Maxime Audet’s bass are standouts here. 

Explosive pockets from Pourquoi pas are an exceptional way to introduce these album-based songs. Science fiction is pulped out of this short and sweet track, a quick palette cleanser and a short breath of fresh air after the manic high of the preceding track. It is a necessary dip and serves its purpose. With the muffled club antics of Sentiments nouveaux, Le Couleur finds themselves ever-reliant on the rise of their introduction. It is as though they fear a burst of energy and must bridge their listener into it time and time again. Thankfully it works for the atmosphere they aim for, though a few new tricks would not go amiss. Where Comme dans un penthouse may lose a bit of steam toward its end, there is no glossing over the pure and rich mixtures which come through each track.  

Album closer Moderne, transgressive et excessive is clear in its intent and a grand descriptor of what Le Couleur set out to present. They do so successfully and it marks Comme dans un penthouse as a real triumph of a record. Assured, confident and skilfully deploying a great range of mixtures which hold polite nostalgia who feel for the electronic selection on display. Those who found themselves burying their heads in GameCube trivialities may find themselves touched by menu-music-like fascinations, the highest praise any piece of synthwave can be given. Comme dans un penthouse is music to be played in those high-rise apartments, or at the very least an accommodation featuring a spiral staircase. Accessible French pop with bits of brilliance seeping through, what’s not to love? 

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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