Bibi Club's Majestic 'Feu de garde' Is Intimately Grand

BY Alex HudsonPublished May 13, 2024


Bibi Club's members, Adèle Trottier-Rivard and Nicolas Basque, are a married couple who have a child together, and that familial relationship perhaps partly explains the unique intimacy they achieve with their headphones-geared brand of pop rock.

Feu de garde isn't traditionally "intimate" music; Bibi Club prefer clanging electric guitars to close-miked acoustics, and surging hooks to confessional ballads. And yet their music has an insular quality, with arrangements fleshed out by tinny drum machines and layered voices, reinforcing the impression that this is a private musical conversation between life partners. "Shlosho" has the queasily wobbling distortion of My Bloody Valentine, except that the plinky synths and beats that accompany the guitar are too dry and minimal to qualify as shoegaze.

The clear musical comparison here is Stereolab. This can be heard in the droning surge of Basque's strums à la Mars Audiac Quintet, lounge-y exotica that evokes the post-Dots & Loops years, and Trottier-Rivard's bilingual vocals and playfully peng-ing melodies. But, while Stereolab cast their gaze outward with anti-capitalist manifestos, Bibi Club find their own brand of profundity in vivid, plainspoken documents of everyday life.

I don't speak French well enough to meaningfully comment on many of these songs, but the English ones situate the the listener in the midst of the band's domestic bubble. "There is a tree / Could you pass the water bottle?" goes the ominously gorgeous "Parc de Beauvoir," which chronicles a pleasantly uneventful day in the park. "I see some kids smoking on a bench / You can go talk to them, they're nice," suggests "you can wear a jacket or a shirt," a three-note flute ostinato twittering sweetly in the background.

It's a continuation of Bibi Club's 2022 debut Le soleil et la mer, improving on both the immediacy of its hooks and the unpredictability of its wide-panned guitars, frequently ascending to baroque levels of compositional mastery. It's one of 2024's must-hear strokes of genius, crossing linguistic borders with its expression of understated, comforting beauty.

(Secret City Records)

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