[Album Review] FOXTROTT- A Taller Us
2.5Rating
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)

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Release Date: November 20th, 2015
Label: One Little Indian

As much as I hate the idea of any Conservative attack ad message running through my brain, I couldn’t help but think of the one proclaiming “Justin Trudeau: just not ready” and feeling the same way about FOXTROTT while listening to the debut LP from the Montreal-based electronic artist. Throughout A Taller Us, there are moments that give you a glimpse of what Marie-Helene Delorme, the sole person behind the project, is capable of creating; but unfortunately, there are just as many that underwhelm.

Things start off on the right note with “Driven,” a light-toned song that matches an excellent uplifting rhythm with malleable vocals that guide the track to a beautiful place. Delorme’s impressive singing is something that consistently elevates her music, like on “Untake Me,” where she holds a high note in the hook with absolute ease.

Knowing what kind of vocal ability she has, it’s all the more frustrating when her production results in a rigid mixture of sounds. That’s the case on “Beyond Our Means” where even the wispy effects between veres come off as forced, and on “Gated” where Delorme barely attempts any variation over the bland synthesized beat. “Shaky Hands” goes for intensity in the musical construction of the track, but the pieces have trouble coalescing well enough for the listener to totally be immersed in it.

One approach that tends to work better for Delorme writing her songs with a discernable structural arc. With her vocal force and range, it’s exciting to hear her weave through the changes between verses and choruses—not to mention that it opens up more musical possibilities. “Shields” and “Brother” do a nice job of that, and cool elements like the breakdown towards the end of the latter track stand out more than the general layering in other songs.

Delorme has certainly built a strong foundation for herself as an artist. If she can add more smoothness to some of her stiff beats and let her vocals run wild, then future FOXTROTT releases will certainly hit their stride.