Cali L'espoir

Cali is amongst the vanguard of French musicians redefining the "chanson” movement. Unlike the cabaret or bossa-nova styles that fill Parisian café compilations, Cali’s third album, L’espoir, is a politically edgy affair wrapped in grandiose instrumental textures such as those employed by the Arcade Fire and Animal Collective, whose producer Scott Colburn adds his trademark touch. L’espoir translates as "breath of fresh hope” and many of the songs, such as the emotional, guitar-charged "Résistance,” are a blueprint for a younger generation of leaders caught in the often-hostile French political scene. Although Cali’s husky-voiced, disillusioned ballads on love and failed relations are still welcomingly familiar, L’espoir is the sound of an artist fighting a new cause. The best moments however come on songs like "Paola” and "Le droit des pères,” when Cali reverts to his folk/jazz past while exploring Iberian influences, such as flamenco guitar and sensual horns. No doubt this is one of the finer albums to come out of France this year. (Fusion III)