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Eglantine Gouzy

Boamaster

(Osaka; US: 19 Sep 2006; UK: 19 Sep 2006)

There is a photograph of a ship on the cover of Eglantine Gouzy’s debut album but the music inside has more in common with a submarine. It doesn’t have the pointed thrust of a ship’s prow; instead it drifts with the kelp and fishes, far, far underwater. She sings in French and English with the whispering edge of a lisp, a pretty sound, while processed effects smudge the air around her voice. She coaxes—“Come with me, come with me”—and yet when she adds, “Let’s have a good time”, it sounds too plainspoken to be entirely sexual. To this English speaker Boamaster feels like an enticing pre-sexual tease, centred on cocoons, secrecy, and a dark, faintly threatening, aura of childishness. “A Gnome” uses tapping effects and a keyboard to suggest a tiny human toddling through the garden, but notes are left hanging in a way that makes the tune seem mysterious rather than simply cute. The next song, “Santé”, brings in a noise that sounds like a hospital patient flatlining while jungle drums stomp along underneath. There are drifting hoots and little gleams of melody. It’s a bit Björkish and a bit Camilleish without quite reaching the innovative heights of either. Still, as far as first albums go, this one is a winner.

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