Paris-based alternative psych-rockers La Femme have never been ones to follow the typical rules of songwriting. Their music pulls influence from indie rock to jazz, electronic music and folk. Their albums are never linear and usually fail to follow a distinct storyline. Yet despite their unorthodox approach to making an album, their creativity always produces something worth while. On their third LP Paradigmes, the band with an ever-changing group of collaborators, have once again created a baffling but beautiful body of work.
This record sees La Femme take a sonic road trip through the American music landscape on tracks like “Nouvelle-Orléans” and “Cool Colorado.” The latter is a groovy French/English hybrid which highlights the exploratory freedoms of Colorado while “Nouvelle-Orléans” pays tribute to NOLA and their contemporary jazz scene. Sonic cohesion is not a priority for La Femme and they seem to make that clear right at the beginning.
About half way through the album the band delivers their most impressive track yet with “Lâcher de Chevaux.” Translating to “Release of the Horses,” this predominantly instrumental track pulls direct influence from the Spaghetti Western film scores of the 1960s. The only vocals on the song are delivered through a haunting set of operatic-like echos that would even make Ennio Morricone proud. Add in some galloping effects of a horse race, whip cracks, underlying tones of electronica and it’s off to the races with this one.
Further diving into the world of electro-rock on “Disconnexion,” “Divine Créature” and “Le Jardin,” the band continues to explore their broad approach to genre and sonic narration. The album’s continuous switch between male and female vocalists allows for a unique listening experience and keeps fans captivated until the very end. The versatility throughout the record is undeniable and ensures relatability across the board. With each track exuding a broad range of sonic differences, the album continues to stay away from a linear narrative.
The themes and subject matter discussed throughout Paradigmes explore the adventurous side of life and unexpected turns that come with it. Listeners don’t need to understand the language to know the creative and diverse sounds throughout this album are representative of the world we live in today. While Paradigmes might stretch too far in the eclectic realm for some, those more adventurous will enjoy getting lost in this album’s untold stories of travel and exploration.
Stream Paradigmes here.