As this strange year draws to a close, what better way to brighten our darkest thoughts and momentarily blur the implacable reality of our new world than to daydream? Before taking out the champagne and throwing the confetti, we invite you today to listen to the dazzling synthpop of Laura Groves, through her latest EP, A Private Road (Bella Union).
Laura Groves. Maybe the name doesn’t mean much to you. Yet this young British multi-instrumentalist and composer began her career more than ten years ago, first with a notable folk alt project called Blue Roses. From 2015 on, she has composed and recorded her music under her own name and left piano/guitar ballads in favour of vintage electronic textures, giving pride of place to experimental synthesizers and foggy electric guitars; a judicious and surprising choice that reveals new aspects of her talent. In her latest EP, marking her debut on the prestigious independent label Bella Union, Laura Groves draws inspiration from her urban, day and night-time peregrinations to invite us on a passionate and phantasmagorical odyssey, with the quest for the « inner self » as a backdrop.
From the very first listening, the artist succeeds in making us travel in a hybrid sound temporality. The mix between eighties sounds and modern production creates all the richness of her work, a bit as if Judie Tzuke’s album Ritmo (1983) took a leap into the future and was updated without being distorted. The opening of A Private Road is made lightly with the sparkling Infinite Wisdom where stellar synths and veiled guitars carry the crystalline voice of Laura Groves who carries a message of liberation and serenity.
Foolish Game is a pop gem, revealing all the magic of Groves‘ music. The enchanting vocal harmonies superimposed on the synths layers guide us through the dark maze of relationships. The daydream continues with the heavenly sweetness of Faking It, which makes us want to open the window in the morning and look at the world as if it were the first time. In contrast to the other titles, Red returns to Groves‘ early piano/voice folk ballads, highlighting her velvety voice. Without falling into kitsch, the outdated piano takes us back in time for a few minutes and undeniably reminds us of Joni Mitchell’s Blue. After this short lull, the suave groove of Sunset gives us back a bit of energy with its swirling organs and its swaying rhythm. The jazzy lullaby Searching For The Stars already rings the end, but a poetic and hopeful end! Like a sailor’s lighthouse, Groves assimilates the stars as true nocturnal landmarks that have the mystical power to guide us in our decisions and paths.
A Private Road is a short, enchanting parenthesis in the heart of dreams. This new opus testifies to the remarkable artistic work of Laura Groves, who effortlessly combines electronic, pop and soul experiments with a hint of folk, in warm and enveloping songs. Like other complete artists/producers such as Jessy Lanza and Kate NV, Laura Groves has all the talent to artistically mark the new decade. Now it’s time for the New Year’s Eve festivities!
Mélomane en apesanteur.