Danielle Duval’s new album “Lose It” is a 2-for-1 deal of sorts, as it feels like two 5-track EPs joined at the hip. The Montreal native (who now lives in Toronto) and talented producer Gus Van Go have created an album that explores two sides of the same musical undercurrent, and opposes the classic sounds of analog synths to a modern indie aesthetic.
The first half is so joyful that it’s hard not to think back to the carefree early 80’s, echoing artists like The Cars, The GoGo’s, Blondie or The Human League. Duval’s indie-rock touch is subdued under layers of synth loops, but it still infuses the songs with a modern edge. The album starts brilliantly with the title track and its infectious chorus, with Duval’s peculiar vocal inflection, will stay in your head for a long time. The next four tracks are all built using the same formula and instrumentation, and by the time track 5 ended, I was wondering how long she’d stretch that formula.
Luckily, this is where the album switched gears. “Whenever You Want It” brings out the guitars and pushes the synth to supporting roles, and it might just be the best song on the record. Her vocals are a bit edgier, and the melodies more biting, as it flips the formula of the first half on its head. “Born in the Next Life” slows things down for a more introspective approach, and is the closest thing to a ballad the album has to offer.
“Nowhere is Far” features guest star Sam Roberts, and puts the synths back to the forefront, blending the two formulas artfully. That marriage of styles lasts until the end of the record, and ties both halves together. The second half never sounds as fun as the first part, but it’s definitely more refined
“Lose It” is a nice, quirky record, with a lot of energy, and the more you dive into it, the less its duality will surprise you. I wasn’t familiar with Duval previous to this record, but I’ll start paying attention.
He's also a regular contributor at the excellent news site Montreal Rampage
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