Every now and then, when working through a pile of albums submitted for review, you come across a project that, for some reason stands out as being extra special, a set of tunes that literally requires immediate further investigation. A particular album in question, that fitted this requirement, was a divine kind of ethereal folky album submitted by a band from Paris called ‘Endenya’ and entitled ‘Silence. It was an altogether gorgeous collection of extremely ambient songs that immediately struck a chord. Further investigations revealed that it originated from a three-piece outfit from the outer suburbs of Paris, an area called ‘Montgeron’. Certainly, after an initial listen it was a surprise to discover that they were a French band especially as all of the vocals on the CD were presented in English.
After an intensive first play, it was initially the beautiful male and female harmonic vocals merging together ‘ad- libitum’ that immediately arrested my attention. Comprising a series of gorgeous adorable duets each creating illusions of satisfying calm. It was such feelings of tranquillity that acted rather like the ‘Sirens Song’ with an alluring utterance of appeal. Such seduction further enhanced with clever harmonic studio overdubbed vocalisations adding further focal points of interest to the proceedings.
However, subsequent and equally intensive listening sessions revealed many other corridors of musical interest opening up an impressive instrumental underworld of incredibly contrasting compositions of guitar, piano and violin. And as the musical journey of ‘Silence’ progressed further it was this sheer range of instrumental variation that gradually claimed equal dominance with the vocals. Realisation sank in that it was in fact the instrumental arrangements that provided the solid platform for the vocals to ring out as opposed to the music being just a series of backing tracks. In other words, it was concluded that the vocals are, in a sense, further adornments to the music itself, functioning like additional instruments, rather than being main the focal point of attention.
There are many aspects about the flow of music which are interesting to follow as the various soundscapes unfold. The oft progression from sweet lyrical tranquillity and peaceful calmness transforming to regions of darker edged disturbed soundscapes are developed with layers of subtle acoustic guitar giving way to pockets of audacious riffing cutting through and smashing up the more languid folk platform.
The entire score of the album carries forth a real spirit, the key to which, are oodles of idealistic yet subtle acoustic guitar, violin and keyboard chord progressions and keyboard fills plus some cleverly worked lead guitar lines. All of these elements together provide an overall presence of tranquillity, calmness and sudden abruptness, reminisce in parts of ‘Mike Oldfields Ommadawn’.
The vocals are all beautifully delivered, and especially attractive are the crystal clear cultured vibes of Elena. However, both Elena’s and Rémi voices are perfectly complementary and fuse together beautifully allowing some stunning duets to be created. Marco writes the music alone but Elena and Remi have the freedom to perform the songs as they want to find the correct tone for themselves. (Marco quotes “I think it’s better like this”.)
Marco is a gifted musician and arranger and has put together a fine score with some interesting time changes and arrangements. The lyrics are all in English and I quote him here: - “I prefer writing in English, I feel more comfortable with this language, even though I sometimes thought about writing a song in French, but I definitely prefer the sound of English!” From a review perspective, it is pretty clear why this might be the case as the work has some distinct comparisons to the British Electric Folk sound of the seventies. It would be nice though for Marco to fit in a nice ‘Parisian’ styled accordion-based tune on his next venture.
Summary: A really delightful album with many hidden depths.
Personnel (The Montgeronnais)
Marco: Guitars, keyboard, piano, programming…
Elena : Lead vocals, backing vocals
Rémi : Lead vocals, backing vocals
Guest musicians :
Julien Perdereau : Drums, Bass guitar
Adrien France : Violin on tracks 1, 3, 4 and 8
Sophie Clavier : Backing vocals on track 8
All music and arrangements by Marco
All lyrics by Marco
All instruments and vocals recorded by Marco at « L’Antre », Montgeron, France except drums and bass guitar recorded by Julien Perdereau
Mixed and mastered by Julien Perdereau
Cover artwork and photos by Sophie Clavier
Produced by Marco