It was over four years ago, Berry, at thirty, had released a record called Mademoiselle, deserving her spot on the starry boulevard alongside the leading ladies in French-pop. A gold record later and ... More
It was over four years ago, Berry, at thirty, had released a record called Mademoiselle, deserving her spot on the starry boulevard alongside the leading ladies in French-pop. A gold record later and after over 200 concerts in France and abroad, going as far as Brazil, Korea, or Serbia where the album lived many lives, she’s finally back with her second album LES PASSAGERS.
Originally a theatre actress, Berry totally converted to music thanks to a significant double encounter: as for the first album, Manou, a jazz pianist and composer and Lionel Dudognon, a guitarist and musical encyclopedia, began to weave around her voice and her elegant texts.
So to make their marks and have their short stories printed, the trio isolated itself for several months, like they had done for Mademoiselle. In a house located at the center of France, our artists found a favorite place for improvisation, inspiration and even at times, a place of distractions. According to Berry, these songs, which seem in the end so rounded, meticulous and perfect, are in reality the product of a succession of intuitions and happy incidents.
The only certainty driving them from the beginning was their eagerness to welcome again on their team,the inseparable and brightest French rhythm section players of their time, Laurent Vernery (bass) and Denise Benarrosh (drums), as well as the historic Brazilian arranger Eumir Deodato (Sinatra, Astrud, Gilberto and Björk…), all who had previously wrapped Mademoiselle in their luxurious ropes.
Conscious that it was also becoming necessary to change things up a bit, Berry delocalized a part of the album’s production in two diametrically different, but perfectly complimentary places. First in New York, where the team joined producer Mark Plati for additional recordings, as well as the mixing of the album, and also in Paris, at the legendary CBE studio of Bernard Estardy, haunted by the souls of so many recordings from the 60’s and 70’s (from Francoise Hardy to Lee Hazlewood, Nino Ferer or even Paul Simon).
The team, who couldn’t succeed without the talented Johan Dalgaard (keyboards), joined together by the urge to live the songs and give them an immediate patina, blew people away from the very first notes to the end of LES PASSAGERS.
During their cruise ride, two other passengers boarded their ship. Daniel Darc, who shared the stage with Berry in 2008 before she recorded with the ex Taxi Girl a version of Les Chanson d’Helene (Les Choses de la vie), wrote the lyrics for a song under construction. The result would be the title song Les Passagers, an unavoidable wink to Iggy Pop’s Passenger. Finally, Troy Von Balthazar, the American who escaped from the blazing ovens of Chokebore, had opened a handful of concerts for Berry four years ago and co-wrote Like A River, scented with the enchanting perfumes of country music at twilight.
Even if the balances and the charms of the songs from the first album have been jealously protected, what distinguish these new tracks are the encounters and the ripening of themes that were formerly brushed on the surface. Less contemplative, Berry printed in her lyrics feelings from the passed years’ excitement, the songs almost all centered around the beginning, around the love that drops like petals, without clashes nor crowns of thorns (Ne Le Dis Plus, Partir Léger) calling out to the sea at large, stronger than narrow lives (Voir du Pays) or happy resignations (Si c’est la vie).
The shadow of Gainsbourg widely present is also what Berry claims as the desired effect throughout the record. She accepts the comparison much better than others, with a particular weight on the very cinematographic Brune inspiring accents of Melody À Tête De Chou and the more obvious Birkin-esque For Ever, with a Franglais text.
Moreover, between old school folky vibrations (Les Mouchoirs Blancs), an intimately whispered minuet (Ce Matin) or even a carnal gallop (Claquer Dans Les Doigts), Berry dares to go beyond all sensory temptations.
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