I discovered Lillet Blanc’s music while checking club listings (and sampling bands) to decide which live show to catch while in New York a few months ago. My final decision from among those I liked was based on time slot and neighborhood, so I went to a different gig that night. But Lillet Blanc’s EP was a free download, so I grabbed it, gave it some more listens, and decided it needed to be reviewed.
EP Review of Lillet Blanc: Lillet Blanc
Dream pop. Lillet Blanc’s Facebook page says “Lillet Blanc is the dream pop project of Emily Rawlings and Sean Camargo.” It’s jangly pop music with a floating, cloudy, dreamy film serving as a musical fog machine, residing in the same musical zip code as bands like Mazzy Star or Widowspeak but with Lillet Blanc’s offerings trending more out-of-focus and blurry, to the extent it’s possible for a kaleidoscope in or out of focus.
The first track of this eponymous 3-song EP (and, as I’ve written before, music journalists love reviewing self-titled collections because we get to use the word “eponymous”), “Foul Play” jumps right into the jangle, with the clean but slightly distorted guitar line reminding me a little of some of Amy & the Engine’s music. Even the breathy, kinda-squeaky (but not really), half-whispered vocal hints at a kinship, as if they might well share a stage. But Amy’s music is pure, catchy, mainstream pop-rock, while Lillet Blanc’s brand of pop is a bit much more ambient and “artsy.” Lillet Blanc’s entire style gives “Foul Play” a feeling of introspectiveness stronger than its lyrics warrant. In all, it’s a fun meander – I can’t call it a romp – through a well-performed song in an interesting, too-cool-for-it-all style.
“Drenched” follows, a bit more atmospheric in nature. Or at least more dominantly atmospheric, much like the ethereal, eponymous 2013 EP of a now-defunct UK band I liked, Trophy Wife. “Drenched” seems to meander a little more drunkenly that the other two songs, its sound and vocal tone ever-so-slightly (though clearly intentionally) off-kilter. It serves as a nice midpoint in the collection.
The disc closes with a movement back toward the awakened side of dream-pop, with a couple catchy, subtle guitar hooks carrying the load during “Now and Yours.” There’s almost a hint of The Police’s early work in rhythms that occasionally bubble to the surface. Of the EP’s three tracks, this might reach most beyond the band’s core audience, serving as a good introduction to attract fans who might not otherwise typically sample their music. It caps off a solid collection of songs, an intriguing introduction to Lillet Blanc. I’ll be curious to see how this group’s sound and songwriting evolve from here.
Lillet Blanc will be performing Wednesday, May 24th at The Gateway in Brooklyn. Follow Lillet Blanc’s Facebook page to be alerted to future performances.