Julie Doiron


BY Helen SpitzerPublished Nov 1, 2001

Make no mistake, Julie Doiron's first French-language record is aimed squarely at her Anglo fans. The title, Désormais, which translates as Henceforth, also suggests "desolée" and "desolate." And it is a barren musical landscape that Doiron returns to here. Her lyrics are as minimal as the arrangements, something that works in her favour for songs such as "Pour Toujours" and "La Jeune Amoureuse," and is less successful on the clichéd "Au Contraire." Behind the pervasive regret that we've come to expect from Doiron, there also emerges a sense of emotional restraint, most notably in those lyrics, which reference parenting. "Penses-Donc (Tu Es Seule)" is overtly directed toward another adult, but also conveys regret that children outgrow their parents. "Le Piano" is the most striking song, with skittering samples and truncated snare drum sounds that beg to be explored more fully elsewhere on the record, and while "Don't Ask" is painfully lovely, the switch back to English feels dissonant and strange. Doiron's writing, at times, is purposefully ambiguous: it is hard not to conclude that she writes in French to evade some of the personal scrutiny her earlier work has undergone. Her habit of repeating lines works well for an audience who will, for the most part, be straining their ears to recognise words. At times, however, it veers a little too close to French for anglophones: it is hard not to think of grade four French when she intones, "j'ai oublié mes mains" or "le garcon n'a pas compris."

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