COEUR DE PIRATE
Album review: "Blonde"
You don't need to speak French to enjoy the 12 eclectic songs on "Blonde," the sophomore solo album by Quebecois singer-songwriter Beatrice Martin, a.k.a.
Coeur de Pirate.
The album's ambiance is its true strength. Martin creates a lush pop landscape, anchored by the sounds of her piano and delicate yet edgy voice and accented by grittier guitar, horns, string sounds and synthesizers.
Things get rolling right away, with a few rather bouncy, effervescent tracks - "Adieu," "Danse et Danse" and "Golden Baby" - that also carry a retro, 1960s vibe. As the album progresses, though, one has the sense of delving significantly deeper into the artist's psyche. The songs get progressively slower and more lyrical, and Martin's voice begins to sound haunting instead of bubbly.
The lyrics - while surely more poetic when not read in clunky English translation - are fairly direct. In Quebec, "blonde" also can mean girlfriend, and most of the songs deal somewhat opaquely with relationships. But on such tracks as "Cap Diamant" and "Place de la Republique," emotion hangs on every lyric sung and every chord played. While the whole album forms an intriguing palate of grooves and melodies, but these ballads are the songs that make you stop toe-tapping to really listen.
--Jess Righthand, Jan. 20, 2012