The French Connection

Club Soda was full last Tuesday night, packed with university students wearing thick plastic-framed glasses and chatting in Franglais.

There was a little variety in the crowd too with some of Giguère’s more mature fans in attendance, but all had shown up to celebrate the launch of this Franco pop-rocker’s second album, Casablanca.

Giguère actually looked surprised to see 300 people cheering when he appeared on stage 20 minutes late.

Despite the fact that I am fluent in Montreal’s cultural scene (and by that I mean I watch way too much TV), I had never heard about this 25 year-old singer. A theatre graduate who has been playing music since high school, Giguère, on top of rising as a Francophone musical talent, is also pursuing a career as an actor.

He showed a lot of energy on stage, jumping and dancing around with his musicians, giving them credit and attention when they had their “solo” moments. It helped that he abandoned his piano, leaving it to someone else, which let him be very physically engaged. A great collaboration and closeness seemed to bind the band together.

Giguère started off with “Tuons nos Enfants,” the piano-powered, deep-feeling opening track of Casablanca, to light up the enthusiastic crowd even more. The tone was set for the night.

During the show, Giguère chatted with his audience between the songs to explain the process of making his new album. He said it was a “funny journey,” and that he woke up one morning and simply decided he would make a new record.

So he did. Well, almost. The songwriting process was a long one.
“This album is a product of last summer,” Giguère told the crowd. Still, it took only about a week to record and produce the 11 songs of Casablanca.

In comparison to his debut album Hisser Haut, which came out in 2012, this new record is slightly more depressing in term of lyrics and musicality—unsurprisingly, since it’s reportedly all about a breakup Giguère went through. Nothing writes music like heartache.

The lyrics are inspired and deep, the song’s sophisticated pop melodies are original with an electro-acoustic touch. Just don’t listen the album to get cheered up before going jogging.

Current coach of Québec’s version of the TV show The Voice Jean-Louis Cormier, with whom Giguère is touring, undeniably influenced him. This new musical tone also draws on inspiration from the group Karkwa, whose ambient flow is present in his writing and sound.

If you need an English comparison, look no further than James Vincent McMorrow.

The tracks “La Pornographie” (which is somehow not about porn) and “Aimer Aimer” were probably my favorites. They are the two songs I recommend listening to if you want to find out about Giguère and his somewhat unique style.

At the end of the show, Giguère thanked the crowd, but left people wanting more. In the encore, he came back on stage, this time with his electric guitar and two vocalists, singing “L’atelier” from his previous album, featured in the successful Québecois movie Starbuck.

The crowd clapped and sang along with him. With a different tempo and more engaging style, this song was perfect to end the night.

Giguère is currently touring, and I hope to hear more about him in places other than French university campuses. After all, talent and music is one thing that needs no translation, and Casablanca speaks for itself.

David Giguère’s new album is now available in stores and on itunes:

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