La Rivière (Independent)
Those who remember the YouTube phenomenon of individuals dancing to Pharrell’s “Happy” in home videos across the world might recall seeing Vancouver’s contribution—a montage of city dwellers throwing shapes in front of urban landmarks and the North Shore mountains.
Few know, though, that the film was produced by French expat and North Van musician Loig Morin. Like his 2012 album Lonsdale—which was named in honour of his new home—the video showcases the location that has acted as a muse for much of his work.
Now, with his brooding new release La Rivière, Morin leaves the topic of Metro Vancouver behind.
Despite being written almost entirely in French, the album is as welcoming to nonfrancophones as polyglots. The atmosphere of La Rivière is as important as its lyrics, weaving rich drones and textures behind Morin’s sultry, half-whispered words. The title track sets the tone for the record, blending female backing vocals with experimental buzzing sitar plucks and soft, drawn-out synth pads. “Derrière la Tempête” exists in a similar vein, with Morin’s Nick Cave–esque baritone underpinning a bass-driven riff at once moody and loungey, while “Près de l’Arbre” forms its sonic complement—the third in a trio evoking a similar smoky atmosphere.
Adding depth to the record are the unexpected “Tanger”—a song that explores the vibe of Morocco with shimmering instrumental samples and bouncing percussion—and “We Used to Be”, a heartfelt piano ballad with string and accordion accompaniment.
A testament to music’s ability to cross all cultures, Morin’s record is both accessible and highly listenable. The perfect soundtrack for the close of winter, La Rivière mixes elements of light and darkness with a rare aptitude.
Follow Kate Wilson on Twitter @KateWilsonSays