Drag City, 2010
REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/26/2011
Laetitia Sadier will always be remembered for her work with the alternative rock band, Stereolab. Their music was uncompromising, always traveling their own musical path. She fronted the band with her ex-partner Tom Gane for almost two decades. Their relationship ended during 2004, and the band went on hiatus during 2009. It remains to be seen whether Stereolab will ever return.
In the past, Sadler has recorded with her side project band, Monade, but she recently disbanded that group and set out on a true solo career. Now truly on her own, she has released her first official solo album, The Trip.
She embarked on a solo tour last summer during which she performed the songs released here with just an electric guitar and her voice. For the album, she has put together a band, which was a wise decision. While the sound is still sparse, it benefits from the additional instruments. The three stalwarts of her backing musicians are drummer/keyboardist Richard Swift, drummer/percussionist Emma Mario, and bassist/guitarist Julien Gasc.
The music travels in a somewhat different direction than her long term work with Stereolab. The droning is kept to a minimum and there is not as much layering of the sound.
There are some extremely personal songs that are led by “One Million Year Trip,” which deals with her sister’s suicide and the attempt to understand the loss. This track reflects a number of the songs where the lightness of the music belies the seriousness of the lyrics.
She also surprisingly adds a number of cover songs. She recorded Wendy & Bonnie’s “By The Sea” and gets a little funky on Les Rita Mitsouko’s “Un Soir Un Chien.” The highlight is her rendition of “Summertime.” It’s a dark and foreboding interpretation and is probably far from what George Gershwin had in mind when he penned the pop classic.
Laetitia Sadier has issued a formidable debut album. As with much of her music, it may not be for the faint of heart, but it is always interesting.
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