“I make music as if I was talking to someone who doesn’t understand my language,” says Pablo Padovani, the multi-instrumentalist behind Moodoïd.
That’s just as well for us Brits, as Padovani is French, and his debut album Le Monde Möö features lyrics mostly in his native tongue. “When I was growing up, I listened to Anglo-Saxon music without understanding the lyrics, and I loved that feeling,” he says. “I wanted to do the same with Moodoïd.”
The result is a gloriously heady, intoxicating listen that manages to be progressive, jazzy, psychedelic, sexy and soulful by turns.
Padovani grew up surrounded by music, as the son of French jazz saxophonist Jean-Marc Padovani (who also plays on this record). He initially learned to play drums, but taught himself several other instruments during his teens. Then Melody Prochet of Provence dreampop project Melody’s Echo Chamber heard some demos and hired him to “join the adventure”, as he puts it, on guitar for her American tour. Padovani befriended Prochet’s producer, Kevin Parker of Aussie psychedelicists Tame Impala, and a handy leg-up in profile was achieved when Parker produced Moodoïd’s debut EP last year.
Parker also mixed one song on Le Monde Möö, the cute love lullaby Yes & You. It’s the only English‑language track included, but its whispery romantic sentiments are far from unusual on this album and are, of course, quintessentially French.
“I’m a big fan of eroticism,” says Padovani. “I love the slow songs and lover music, so sensuality is one of the favourite subjects for Moodoïd. There are only women around me on stage. Maybe it helps…”
Quite possibly, as his four-piece live band are glammed-up as if dressed to kill for ladies’ night at Venus’ most morally laissez-faire nightclub. Then again, the surreal album artwork suggests more bizarre visions. So what inspired it? Truckloads of chemicals? A particularly vivid dream?
“I was lost in dreams and loneliness for a week,” he explains. “Alone in the countryside with all the instruments, and in that state I composed the songs of Le Monde Möö. I walked in the surrounding nature and I also danced a lot. I was like a kid with lots of toys. It was great fun!”
For an album written as quickly as possible to keep it all “very spontaneous”, it’s a dizzying, multifaceted, richly evocative collection of tunes that pinballs between genres in the finest prog tradition, while also managing to sound utterly unique. A case in point is the woozy, bassoon-laced reverie of Blue Est Le Feu, which mutates into a Gainsbourg-esque whispering soul seduction, before Les Oiseaux tumbles us through vortices of synth washes and choppy storms of jazz-rock fusion. Other highlights include the trippy, ambient space-rock of La Lune, full of crashing waves of guitars backed by angelic choirs, and the headswimming, soundtracky textures of Les Chemins de Traverse.
“I want to create magic,” Padovani explains. “Like reading a fantasy story, you find yourself diving into another reality. I feel that the album takes them elsewhere for 50 minutes. I suggest you listen to the record in bed before falling asleep.”
To sleep, perchance to dream? Bien sûr!
Pablo Padovani (vocals, guitar), Clémence Lasme (bass), Lucie Droga (keyboards), Lucie Antunes (drums), Maud Nadal (guitar)
Glammed-up Gallic romanticism meets psychedelic, synth-clad surrealism in a futuristic Paris boudoir
Le Monde Möö is out now on Les Disques Entreprise