Jonathan Robert is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known for being the co-founder of the internationally acclaimed JOVM mainstay act Corridor — and for his work as an animator and visual artist. Last year, Robert released his full-length debut Histoire Naturelle, an album that drew rom desert dream pop, Western spaghetti rock and jangle pop that thematically focused on the potential end of the world.
Robert’s sophomore album with his Jonathan Personnne project, the Guillaume Chiasson-product Disparitions is slated for release next week through Michel Records, Primarily written while Robert was touring with Corridor, the album’s material came about in a quick and fluid fashion. And while the material reportedly finds the Corridor co-founder continuing with his particular brand of intimate and sensitive songwriting. But unlike its predecessor, the album’s material is inspired by a moment when music became a source of proofed disgust for him” “I spent a lot of time touring away from home. Towards the end I felt like I was reluctantly going to do something that I had longed wished for,” Robert says in press notes. When he was able to do, Robert went to Quebec City-based Le Pantoum, where he and producer Guillaume Chiasson used analog recording techniques to record the album’s arrangements of electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, Rhodes and timpani, as well as electronic samples, mellotron and synths.
Earlier this year, I wrote about “Springsteen,” Disparitions‘ first single, which found Robert boldly drawing from and then meshing several different eras of rock: glistening psych rock through the use of a looping and shimmering 12 string guitar line, 70s AOR/radio rock through the use of bluesy guitar soloing, glam rock-like four-on-the-floor and a soaring hook paired with Robert’s plaintive falsetto. Disparitions‘ latest single is the wiry genre and style-defying “Terre Des Hommes,” a track that sounds a bit like The Byrds meshed with early 80s New Zealand jangle pop, centered around shimmering and jangling guitars, a persistent backbeats, Robert’s plaintive vocals and a soaring hook. It’s an infectious song that’s deceptively anachronistic; the track sounds as though it could have actually been released on a 60s French psych rock compilation — but it while possessing a free-flowing, jam-like air.
“There are songs, like ‘Terre des Hommes,’ on which the structure presents its limitations and improvisation has to be part of the game,” the French Canadian singer/songwriter and guitarist explains in press notes. “And we went that way for one-third of the song. For this album, I wanted to include lots of guitar solos, in the spirit of classic rock. The challenge was to play with the dangerous aspect and avoid falling into the cheesiness of it.”
“I’m always inspired by the mood of the music when I write. For this song, try to imagine people running towards spaceships to embark, leaving the exploding planet coming to an end behind, haha!”