With the release of their first handful of releases — 2016’s Jeunes instants EP, 2017’s full-length debut À jamais privé de réponses and 2019’s Jettatura EP — the rising Montreal-based indie electro pop duo Paupiére, visual artist Julia Daigle and Polipe’s and We Are Wolves‘ Pierre-Luc Bégin, quickly established a sound that finds the duo meshing elements of 80s synth pop and New Wave — think The Human League, Depeche Mode and others — with French chanson. But under their breezy pop melodies and catchy hooks, the duo’s work thematically touches upon naive, adolescent and hedonistic romanticism, disenchantment and ennui.
The duo’s sophomore album Sade Sati was released earlier this year, and the album continues their ongoing and successful collaboration with We Are Wolves’ Vincent Levesque, who produced all of their previously released material. Over the past couple of months I’ve written about two of that album’s previously released singles:
- “Coeur monarque,” a playful, hook-driven mix of Phil Spector-era pop and Ace of Base-like synth pop centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering polyrhythmic beats and boy-girl harmonies. Despite the infectious nature of the song, thematically the song as the duo explained, is much darker: “‘Coeur Monarque’ is an imaginary tale about a girl, who lives her life according to her moods. Her freedom contributes to her isolation and she loses herself in it. ‘Coeur monarque’ is a light and poppy piece, just like the protagonist of the story.
- “Sade Sati,” a sugary, sweet pop confection centered around an enormous hook, shimmering synth arpeggios and Daigle’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics about the movements of the planets — in particular Saturn — and how they impact and influence all things in our lives.
Adding to a busy year, Paupiére’s Julia Daigle steps out into the limelight as a solo artist with her full-length debut, the Dominic Vanchesteing-produced Un singe sur l’épaule. Slated for a November 5, 2021 release through Lisbon Lux, Daigle’s forthcoming debut effort is a decided sonic departure from her work with Paupiére. Featuring a backing band of impressive local talent including Chocolat‘s Guillame Ethier, Marie Davidson‘s Asaël Robitalle, Jackson Macintosh, Phillipe Roberge, Alex Crow and Dominic Vanchesteing, the album’s material is a slick synthesis of contemporary alternative pop, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Quebec-based 70s prog act Contraction paired with storytelling-driven lyrics.
Un singe sur l’épaule’s first single is the sleek “Usage Domestique.” Centered around shimmering and looping mandolin, atmospheric synths, an infectious, motorik-like groove and an enormous hook paired with Daigle’s sultry yet insouciant vocals, the song finds Daigle and her collaborators crafting glossy, radio friendly pop with an art rock scene in a way that brings Kate Bush and Steve Nicks to mind. “‘Usage Domestique’ talks about an object of us,” Daigle explains. “The life span of a material and its value are directly linked to its solidity. When the object of use is abused for ornamental purposes, its life span is shortened b because being subject to fashion, it is doomed to die sooner.”
Shot in a cineamtic black and white, reminiscent of Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night, the recently released video for “Usage Domestique” is an intimate peek at Daigle and her collaborators in the studio, rocking out to the song’s infectious groove.