Green shoots are beginning to appear by way of the administering of coronavirus vaccines, although admittedly the end of this seems a long way away. We’re no doubt going to need some more great music this year to get through it, so it’s a great way to kick off our 2021 album reviews with a new release from Clémentine March. March, of course, released one of our 2020 album of the year contenders. Le Continent was an outstanding, vibrant indie pop gem. That she has managed to turn around another album in the space of a year is quite remarkable, particularly given the year we’ve all just had. The aptly titled Songs of Resilience feels very much like a product of the time.
The approach is far more understated than it was on “Le Continent”.
Largely sung in March’s second language, English, often with just a guitar and minimal percussion for accompaniment, Songs of Resilience is a real test of her songwriting ability.
We’re treated to the same vibrant ear for melody from the off with the excellent Panic Attack. It has a crooked beauty and melody that Stuart Murdoch would be proud of.
March has lost none of her quirk, despite the stripped down approach. “Last Chorus” is an upbeat delight, with great vocals and complete with wonky theremin wobbles. Following this, the Silver Jews-esque chord strum of “Inside The Wave” comes complete with satisfyingly crunchy synths and a vocal performance that just sounds like March is beaming from ear to ear.
“Nos Instants Sauvages” sung in French, is more subdued.
There are no bells and whistles just vocals and guitar. When the melodies are this good it needs nothing more. It has a similar feel to something from Super Furry Animals “Mwng” (and that’s not just because we don’t really understand what they’re saying!).
March’s melodic ear really is fantastically playful. “The Fire In The Night” has a McCartney quality and great sense of fun despite its subject of loneliness and fear of change.
Somewhat unexpectedly, the title track is a completely instrumental short guitar interlude. It provides a simple breather ahead of the joyful “La Citadelle”. With the only percussion what sounds like someone knocking on a table and a few cymbal splashes, this track is packed with humour. The doubled up vocals and wacky synths are fantastic.
“Into The Distance” is an understated delight. It has heavy “Blackbird” vibes, a cute Jonathan Richman solo and simple güiro beat.
This is timeless songwriting.
The dual language “Electric Fog” is a song with almost split personalities. With two very distinct sections, this is further emphasised by March switching languages. It has a light psychedelic quality, with some strange, discordant vibrato accordion-like sounds.
“Insects” is another short and sweet ditty, that ruminates on the brevity of life.
The gorgeous, lilting “Eternite” closes what is, simply, a delightful acoustic album.
“Songs Of Resilience” is a warm, inviting, subtle and extremely enjoyable second album from Clémentine March, that really highlights her melodic talents. This is also a credit to the production sensibilities of Pozi’s Toby Burroughs, who has allowed these songs to stand up for themselves.
What a great way to begin our musical discoveries this year.
Songs Of Resilience is out today via Lost Map.
You may enjoy this if you like: Silver Jews, The Beatles/Paul McCartney, Super Furry Animals, Dana Gavanski, Belle And Sebastian