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Julie Doiron: Desormais

REVIEW: Julie Doiron: Desormais
1.17.2002 by Sean

Julie Doiron : Desormais [Endearing Records, 2001]

Two words? Mumbled magic

Julie Doiron, former bassist for Eric's Trip, here releases a thoroughly wonderful album of quiet, Nick Drake-style songs, all but one of which are in French, but none of which require any knowledge of the language. Each of these lilting, heart-breaking ballads is sung with a soft, warming voice, licked with choral echoes and a sad, mumbling approach to enunciation. Doiron makes occasional, careful use of organ, drums, electric guitar, but these instruments never overpower her small voice. Like Cat Power's Chan Marshall, her delicate delivery conceals a vigour and strength that's heard in the occasional end of a word or twist of lyrics. Particularly touching to these bilingual-but-Anglophone ears is the album's one english song (although an english-language album will be released in February), "Don't Ask", in which Doiron tells some former friend?/lover?, with heartbreaking sensitivity: "Don't feel bad, and don't ask me to keep in touch."

"Le Piano" folds breathtakingly out from a simple guitar-line, double- and triple-tracked vocals blending and bleeding together over a scarcely audible, slow-growing electronica rhythm. It's as sad as anything the now-revered Mr. Drake ever recorded, and her voice is as outstanding as one of my favourites from 2000: Kathryn Williams. This is an artist worth immersing oneself in.

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