French composer and singer Le Prince Miiaou released her fifth self-produced album “Victoire”, mixed by drummer Norbert Labrousse, on her newly-created No Damn Label.
What first strikes you when listening to “Victoire” is the multitude of sonic ideas going through these twelve songs, as if Maud-Elisa Mandeau (the woman behind Le Prince Miiaou) was trying to channel all her creative thoughts and influences into one project.
Considering how all the instruments are linked to the melodies, it’s not surprising to hear Maud-Elisa explain how she composes, beginning like a bedroom producer by searching for sounds directly on her computer and progressively combining them to set the atmospheres and structures of her songs. A kind of contained and organic chaos, created at first without global vision, which may explain the ironic title of “Victoire” (French for “Victory”), firstly named “Perdu d’avance” (“Lost in advance”).
But even if this process particulary stands out on her new album, whose aesthetic lies in a large range of influences from hip hop and trap drums to electronic genres, she somehow manages to maintain her rough rock and adventurer spirit of her early career.
Songs like the vibrant opener “Flip the Switch” and its monumental chorus, or the outro of “Poisson”, put Le Prince Miiaou in line with the great American pop tradition, whose strengths come from an indubitable melodic sense and a propensity to absorb different styles to create something grandiose and universal – often evoking St. Vincent in her most rock’n’roll moments.
At other times, the music beautifully assumes its synthetic inclinations to fully embrace it, combining synthpop sensibilities reminiscent of Bat for Lashes (“Tied Up”) or even The Knife (the sublime bassline of “Des Parpains et des Roses” ) to powerful beats (the trap-oriented “Summer Loner”), dubstep kicks and rave euphoria like on “Le Pédagogue” and its Crystal Castles-like harsh sounds. The record’s ecstatic and febrile energy resides precisely in its constantly evolving nature and attention to detail, making it sound like a boiling mixture of different colors and textures.
If Le Prince Miiaou is feeling like “a fish out of water” as she says on dramatic single “Poisson”, trying with hesitation to navigate between genres and to step outside of her comfort zone, it’s her ability to always land on her feet like a cat (“Miiaou” is a stylized translation for “meow”) that will subsist in our minds after having listened to this true “Victory”.
Photo: Boris Barthes