Les Amis Au Pakistan Espace Libidinal

Les Amis Au Pakistan Espace Libidinal
If you’ve ever imagined the Ronettes doing battle with Stereolab in a Nintendo 64-era soundscape, well, you’ll just have to keep coming up with another dozen references to get to Laval’s Les Amis Au Pakistan. There is so much going on with this disc that it’s hard to separate it into its constituent parts. The micro-samples channel filtered disco, folk, exotica and rock. However, within the songwriting context and the lo-fi new wave synth setting these ingredients morph into polished pop gems from out of deep leftfield. To my ears, there are oblique similarities to the Beatles-esque aspects of tropicalia — producer Simon Tremblay is obviously an accomplished musical thinker and even more accomplished at translating this singular vision. The new wave influence, seemingly beaten to death elsewhere in pop culture, still sounds fresh in the wonderful sonic palette and hooky, clipped bass lines. This is actually a pretty funky record but doesn’t resort to clichés. The quartet of female vocalists are as reminiscent of the absurdist approaches of early Ambiences Magnetiques groups like Les Poules and Wondeur Brass as the ’60s girl groups that initially come to mind. It’s hard to tell what the subject matter is, especially with the vocals mixed at equal or lower volume to the instruments and thoroughly pureed through a dub blender. Some songs are horny, some lonely and wistful, and some childish. The weirdness is perfectly balanced with insanely catchy pop hooks shot through the record. This is a tremendous debut, one of my favourites so far this year. (Fusion III)