La Force Festival Santa Teresa, Sainte-Thérèse QC, May 18
Published May 19, 2018Though La Force is a new moniker for Broken Social Scene singer Ariel Engle, it's been long in her orbit: a shelved album as AroarA, Engle's old musical partnership with husband and fellow BSS-er Andrew Whiteman, was meant to bear that name. But though La Force (the album) never came to light, its promise of "cigarbox guitars, beats, melodies and vintage hum" lives on in La Force (the band).
Joined by Evan Tighe on drums and Snowblink's Dan Goldman on guitar, Engle launched into a series of calypso-tinged tracks that, at first, continued down AroarA's electro-folk path. Recently released debut single "You Amaze Me," a tribute to Whiteman (who could be seen grooving in his seat a few rows back) was a highlight, thanks to Engle's clear, powerful voice navigating through vocal runs and enchanting lyrics. Tighe's percussion also provided plenty of great moments as he juggled between a drum kit and pads, expertly controlling the mood with the ferocity of his playing.
Having shared the spotlight in her other musical projects, Engle is confidently and rightfully taking the spotlight for herself with La Force — the closing number even recalled her days in Montreal-based Egyptian orchestra project Land of Kush, adding new elements to the electro-folk backbone she developed in AroarA. Triggered samples resembling saxophones and steel pan drums offered encouraging hints of future instrumentation to come from the project.
It's no surprise that the name La Force, drawn from the Tarot card for strength, is an enduring image for Engle — the card traditionally showcases a woman calmly taming a lion. That's where Engle draws her strength, from creating a relaxed, engaging atmosphere that draws you in. Melding four-on-the-floor dance beats with calypso and Egyptian influences, La Force already possess a potent vision, and Engle and her collaborators are just getting started showcasing it.