Well-renowned and seasoned French singer-songwriter Alexandre Varlet releases his first album in two years on Les Disques du 7ème Kiel. Although he may not be the most prolific of French singer-songwriters, Alexandre is without doubt one of the most talented.
After releasing two albums with BMG — Naïf Comme Le Couteau (1998) and Dragueuse De Fond (2002) — and one with Fargo — Ciel De Fête (2007) — Alexandre returned in 2010 with Soleil Noir (on Shayo Records).
“It’s bands like JOY DIVISION that inspired me to make music. When I discovered these groups and, more generally, the 4AD and Factory labels, I bought an acoustic guitar with the intention of trying to reproduce those sounds in my own style. It was obvious from the beginning that I was going to write lyrics in French and play an acoustic guitar. The challenge for me was to transcribe the emotions that I got from THE CURE or COCTEAU TWINS using my own voice and my own instrument. It is in this way that I think I have constructed my own sound. I got into folk later on through NICK DRAKE, DYLAN, COHEN, and, more recently, the groups on the American label Kranky.”
Derision, introspection, humor, anger and frank sensuality, Alexandre’s great strength lies in his lyrics. They have a unique sincerity and poetry and are delivered with a sweet yet sharp voice that you would recognise anywhere.
Yet, Alexandre knows when to step back and never allows himself to sink into pathos. Album after album, he offers a hard and often deeply moving version of human nature.
For his fifth album and first eponymous one on Les Disques du 7ème Kiel, Alexandre has put away the irony and mischievousness that were previously part of his repertoire. However, he still explores both emotions and torment with very personal lyrics.
Musically, Alexandre tends toward greater solemnity and asceticism than in the past. Although this album is a dark jewel, you get the impression that light is waiting to burst through it. It seems that Alexandre wants to refine his compositions to bring out the essential.
If there’s any justice in the world, the great Alexandre will turn his sensitive, emotional little kingdom into an empire.