posted on June 24, 2007 13:35
It was Jim Carroll over at the journal of record who tipped us off about Malajube, a five-piece from Quebec whose 2006 record 'Trompe l'Oeil' has recently been released in Europe.
As with a lot of innovative music these days, this album gleefully jumbles up genres - there are bits of '70s AM rock, new wave, folk and even a touch of indie-pop. It sounds fresh, inventive and full of energy - the immediate (if a bit too obvious) comparison would be to 'Funeral' by Arcade Fire.
So, the new Arcade Fire with 2007's smash hit indie album? Probably not. You see, your local record dealer's just going to bury it in his 'world' music section because they sing in French.
But while singing in French will probably put off a lot of English-language punters, that shouldn't dissuade the French, right? Wrong. French-language music from Quebec is considered deeply uncool here in 'la Hexagone'- behind Celine Dion there's a horde of equally-bland balladeers (names like Mylene Farmer, Garou and Lara Fabian; apologies to any French readers who've just got sick all over their computers) who come to France to seek their fortune.
And French people generally ridicule the Quebecois for their accents, just as they do with the Belgians and Swiss for having the nerve to speak French in a Belgian or Swiss accent (and just like how the Irish accent was mocked in Britain until the 1990s). English-speaking Quebec acts like Arcade Fire or Rufus Wainwright don't meet this barrier (this Maginot Line, if you will) of linguistic credibility.
Malajube have already been and gone around Europe before anyone seemed to notice them - they played in Dublin earlier this month, and supported Arcade Fire here in Paris.
However, they'll be back for some European festivals this August - in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and a French festival called Les Nuits Secretes (at Aulnoye-Aymeries, in the north-east near Lille and the Belgian border). No news yet of any Irish festival appearances - but in the meantime you can listen to the entire album on their MySpace page, and you can watch the video for the wonderful pop thrills of 'Montreal -40°C' below. Remember; in French the 't' is silent in 'Montreal'. Now that's not too scary to listen to, is it?