Monday, March 16, 2015

JAMIE-LEE SMIT: "Mon Amour Monique"

Rating: RRR
Label: Epictronic 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Jamie-Lee Smit, the young and talented Belgian singer known for her metal band Azylya. This however is her first solo album and the ancient music concept of the Yé-yé girls (which I believe originally came from France and Italy?) takes a different meaning and twist in the year of 2015. Emotional and dramatic French lyrics by Smit (three out of ten tracks are in English though) set to sort of jangle indie rock met catchy power-pop with fuzzy guitar and summer breezy fun edgy rhythms by Italian producer and overall multi-artist Riccardo Daga.

I like it. Charming melodies and soothing vocals. Hardly strictly Metal even if the artwork (see pic) may suggest the Gothic approach? Speaking to Jamie-Lee she told me the following about the cover and I quote: "The picture of the album cover is actually a bit dark. We wanted it so. The album is Indie rock but the lyrics of most songs are not very sunny. They talk about often sad subjects, such as the death of a soldier, the martyr of the elephants, the death of my grandfather... or the famous 27 Club which includes artists died at the age of 27 years in dramatic circumstances", end quote.

If the music display a love for indie rock and power-pop of the 80's and 90's, it's lyric-wise a surprisingly dark affair and sadly also reality. Vocal-wise, Smit certainly enjoy to switch from the classical French vibrato to more organic and pure power-pop harmonies. The completely different approach from her metal outfit and it's more in the style of Belinda Carlisle met Vansessa Paradise than aggressive over the top goth/symphonic stuff. The only downer with "Mon Amour Monique" would be that most if not all songs are mid-tempo and thus not always varied enough. It's however a light, airy record with a couple of dark and twisted moments such as "Sur La Piste Des Elephants". Nicely done and executed.

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