Wendy Martinez, a French artist coming from the pop girls band Gloria, goes solo with her remarkable first EP, “La Chevauchée Électrique”.
Local laureates of Le Printemps de Bourges, one of the biggest French festivals, are newly discovered artists who often end up being acclaimed nationally. This isn’t really surprising to discover that Wendy Martinez has recently been nominated as one of them, for the 2021 edition.
Even if “La Chevauchée Électrique”, which has been released a few weeks ago, is her first solo EP, it delivers a fully formed universe, made of ’60s French pop and cosmic experimentalism.
Already known for being a member of the psychedelic summer pop band Gloria, who got signed to Howlin Banana – one of the most respected French indie labels in this genre – Wendy Martinez successfully finds her own artistic path on “La Chevauchée Électrique”.
Developing a more French chanson-oriented style, without denying the Californian-like reverie of Gloria, Wendy wraps us into a hypnotic retropop, recalling some of the country’s most iconic ’60s/’70s singers.
Warm bass sounds and slow tempos have the depth of ’70s Gainsbourg songs, that, by the way, Wendy mentions as an influence. In the clammy introduction to “La Chevauchée Électrique’s” title track, we could almost hear Serge replying to her after she says “Je t’aime”, with the same softness as Jane Birkin in “Je t’aime… moi non plus”.
Her voice has an undeniable charisma which, since the beginning of the haunting first single “Mon Aviateur”, immediatly gives to her songs an elegant and strangely anachronistic ambiance. She could well be a stylish mid-XX century singer or a 2050 one.
This blur between times is also palpable in her music videos, that she directed herself. For “La Chevauchée Électrique”, for example, she immerses us in a beautiful retrofuturistic décor, made of cosmic imagery and ’60s motifs.
The songs themselves seem timeless. Last track “Les Vieilles Filles en Fleur” has this same “vintage” vibe, but also delivers an almost imperceptible electronic beat, which could put the song somewhere between Beach House’s dream pop and Jonathan Bree’s classy rock.
Moreover, the lyrics use charming and surrealistic poetry that sometimes echo modern situations, like in the beautiful “Kilomètre Zéro” or the incredibly catchy “Écran Triste”, which deals with virtual relationships’ artificiality…
A message that resonates all the more because the EP has been finished during France’s lockdown. Given this fact, “La Chevauchée Électrique’s” sense of escapism must have been a welcome relief for Wendy. In any case, for us, the listeners, it undoubtedly is.
Stream “La Chevauchée Électrique” LP on Spotify.