Clio

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Listening Post 61. The key track of Clio’s eponymous debut album is Éric Rohmer est mort (Eric Rohmer Is Dead), a tribute to the New Wave director, who died in 2010: “I want more of him,” she laments, “of those lovers on suburban trains/Of Parisian squares where couples hold hands…” (video 1). The young singer-songwriter’s brilliant concept record carries 11 cinematic tracks of French chanson built around lyric images of everyday life and spare arrangements that highlight her soft and mellow voice. In Haussmann à l’envers (Haussmann in Reverse), she walks the iconic boulevard obsessing over details of a disheartening encounter: “Of course, the cars honk at me,” she observes, “but I don’t hear anything/I’m replaying yesterday” (video 2). Her documentary word-scenes unfold in enchanting songs like Des Équilibristes (Tightrope, video 3), Plein les doigts (Tired of Your Picture) and Le coiffeur (The Hairdresser). And nowhere is she more delightful than in Tu peux toujours courir (You Can Always Run) a cat-and-mouse romance (video 4) with a Sixties cadence from Rohmer’s heyday—you can dance the twist to it—and rapid-image poetry reminiscent of Jobim’s bossa nova classic Águas de Março (odd fact: one common translation of bossa nova is “new wave”). The irony of Clio’s masterpiece is that New Wave directors stressed contemporary themes shot on location over traditional period pieces, while her homage is itself a period piece. Peu importe… Clio is charming, melancholy, incisive, playful, insouciant and ironic. And maybe it’s just a cinematic illusion, but sometimes it seems she can be all of these things in a single breath. (uGo&Play)


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