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La Féline – Triomphe album review

Haunting prog pop with a Gallic twist.

France’s extraordinary Agnes Gayraud took her band’s name from the movie that would inspire David Bowie in the Cat People remake that surfaced in 1982, 40 years after the original. Both dealt with the idea of transformation and change, and showed off Bowie and Georgio Moroder’s pop sheen in the film’s theme tune. Gayraud and La Féline also play with the idea of form, substantive change and pushing pop’s glossy boundaries. Gayraud – journalist, lecturer, associate of philosophy and chanteuse – makes the kind of experimental pop that touched the world in those early Roxy Music albums (the sax here, as there, is an occasional and surprising punctuation mark) and then traversed the years in the work of artists like Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel, even in the last few Feist albums. It’s magical and multi-faceted: the lilting pop (with its haunting, almost world-weary vocal line) of Séparés (Si Nous Étions Jamais) sparkles dully, bereft and beautiful. Then there’s the wonderfully discordant rise and fall that threatens to upend the gently tumbling La Royamue: both speak volumes for an artist without borders making music without walls.