When Malajube formed in the early 2000s and released their debut album, Le Complet complet, they were among a handful of young, indie bands that helped transform the Montreal music scene and brought greater attention francophone music. Over the next eight years, they would record 4 other LPs, an EP, and a handful of singles. However, in 2012, the band, like fellow Montrealers Wolf Parade, announced they were taking a hiatus to focus on new projects.
With the time off, frontman and guitarist Julien Mineau has been experimenting with various sounds and genres. This process of experimentation has resulted in Fontarabie, which will be released on June 10. Fontarabie is a visceral listening experience. It is one part brooding synth and another part dreamy, symphonic pop.
The album does feel like you’re at the symphony. Although there are 14 songs on the album, it seems like you’re listening to a couple of extended tracks as many of the songs merge seamlessly together, such as the first three songs – “Morula”, “Union libre avec le peur”, and “Blastula”. Then there’s “Larve humanie”, an upbeat pop song that stands out from the more melodic songs on the album. The finale, “Serpentine”, is a bit of an odd choice to complete the album, as it seems it doesn’t quite end, but then again it might be a sign that there is more to come from the Montreal experimentalist.
Overall, however, the album is an example of experimentation that can both challenge the listener and make her/him be in awe. The album is often theatrical and spacy, can be quite mesmerizing at its finest moments, and simply gorgeous. It is also an album that successfully tickles your imagination. On one song, you might feel like you are at the carnival; another may transport you inside Space Station V (2001: A Space Odyssey); and another track may make you feel like you’re watching a Charlie Kaufman story. It is this diversity, this complexity that makes Fontarabie extremely successful.
Fontarabie can be pre-ordered right now on Mineau’s Bandcamp page or iTunes. The album will officially be released on Friday, June 13. You can also stream the entire album live on his website or Bandcamp page.
Julien Mineau will be performing the entire album live with a full orchestra during Francofolies de Montréal. The performance will be at Théâtre Maisonneuve in Place des Arts on Sunday, June 15, starting at 8:00. The performance should be spectacular. Get tickets here.
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