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.