Très bien, Malajube, très bien.

I took French in high school for two years. Sadly, the only thing I really remember is watching the Little Mermaid (dubbed in French), un stylo = a pen, and learning how to say "Très bien" instead of "trays ben." One may wonder why I chose to review an album sung entirely in a language that I obviously cannot understand (see next paragraph)...

I think there are mainly two types (it's trouble when you say there are only two of anything because I've been told that most things come in a continuum and not a binary, but just go with me on this one) of people when it comes to listening to music: those who focus on the lyrics and those who focus on the sound of the music. I am generally the latter. I hear vocals as instruments and sounds, rather then noticing the meaning of the words, therefore it doesn't make much difference if it's in English or not. 

First three adjectives that come to mind when listening to this album:


Three favorite songs on album:
"Montréal -40°C"
"La Monogamie"
"Ton Plât Favori"

Though it is the sixth track on Trompe-L'oeil by Malajube, "Ton Plât Favori" was the first track to pound through my senses. The emphatically played piano notes hooked me right away. There's nothing shy about this song. It's a brisk, spirited run through power-indie-pop at its best, and it left me feeling the need to press repeat.

From the fast paced highs of songs like "Montréal -40°C" to the beautiful simplicity of "La Fin," I am thrown into varying emotions with the expert care of this well crafted album. The entire album toyed with my emotions but not to the point of going overboard. Each new song put to rest the emotions of the last and fully embraced its own context without feeling too moody.

Album design:
At times, the packaging for an album can conflict with the impression one gets from the music. In the case of Trompe-L'oeil by Malajube, the album artwork only heightens the effect of the music rather than competing with it. It adds depth to their music and a glimpse into their artistic persona.

The black and white illustrations dusting the liner notes are—much like the music itself– complex and simple at the same time. Around each illustration is ample white space and often the lyrics for each song typed in a brick red serif font. Adding the lyrics gives the listener a chance to connect to the musician intellectually, thus adding another element to the album. At times the text and illustrations are angled just slightly to give an added punch to the layout, contributing to the quirkiness of the album as a whole.

Next Up:
Le Tigre, This Island (2004)