Published May 26, 2015It's common to see French-Canadian musicians release music in English to reach a wider audience, but Melanie Brulée's choice of a less-traveled — and perhaps riskier — path pays off in spades on Débridée (unbridled), her first French-language solo album following stints in pop-rock group General Electryk and Toronto's the Ole Fashion (the latter remains an ongoing concern for Brulée).
Produced by Benoit Morier (Chic Gamine) and featuring all-star contributions from "Champagne" James Robertson (New Country Rehab, Lindi Ortega) on guitar and Gary Craig (Doug Paisley, Bruce Cockburn, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) on drums, Débridée contains echoes of the Ole Fashion's country-tinged Americana, but it finds the Cornwall native experimenting with a much broader palette — perhaps at the expense of a cohesive sound.
On Débridée, the catchy, charmingly retro dance-pop of opener "Obtus" sits next to "Pour de moi," a looping, dusty ballad, and the thoroughly modern, radio-ready post-Radiohead rock of "Astéroïde." The hypnotic, atmospheric "Qui suis-je" — a fine showcase for Brulée's voice — could have fit seamlessly between George Michael's "Careless Whisper" and Spandau Ballet's "True" on mid-1980s radio. Brulée also proves herself to be a fine interpreter on a reading of Vanessa Paradis's "Marilyn et John" that smartly strips the original of its dated production sheen.
The odd song drifts by without leaving much of an impression, and Brulée may not have fully figured out her musical identity just yet, but Débridée feels more creatively restless than scattered, the work of a promising artist still exploring her multiple talents. (Independent)