If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of VH-1’s Behind the Music. Think about it, famous people airing out all of their life’s deliciously sordid tidbits for us, the paeans (it’s kind of like an episode of The Jerry Springer Show, but about people you’re actually interested in). And when they did an episode on Madonna, it seemed only fitting. Who on Earth is going to have more sordid tidbits than someone who published a book called Sex?
During the episode, Madonna discussed the recording of her latest album, Ray of Light. During the interview, she said she’d been listening to a lot of electronic music (who hasn’t? — even Axl Rose has been rumored to be recording an electronic album) but noticed the genre seems to be lacking emotion, that electronic albums are usually very cold, heartless creations.
Immediately, my ears perked up. “Au contraire, most material of Girls,” I said. Well, in one sense she’s right. She must’ve been thinking about stuff like Prodigy and Daft Punk, which rank high on the “block rockin’ beat-o-meter” but pretty low in the “heart and soul” department. However, just prior to watching this episode, I’d come across a little-known band called Halou.
Previously called Anymore, the duo of Ryan and Rebecca Coseboom have opted for a much more electronic-influenced feel with Halou. Rebecca’s vocals (with more than just a passing resemblance to Liz Fraser’s) soar and dip above a veritable feast of electronic melodies and rhythms. At times very powerful and pulsating, and at other times very ambient and meek, and often somewhere in between, there’s a soul at the heart of this machine. In fact, it’s not odd that it’s on the predominantly electronic tracks, like “Clip,” where We Only Love You slips a little bit.
But on tracks like “It Was Safer When You Were Near” (with it’s eerie opening notes reminiscent of the Pi soundtrack) and “Feeling This Is Like to Fall Awake,” Halou’s musical synthesis comes to bear fruit. Relentlessly driving, metallic, chaotic rhythms seem like an odd foundation for the gorgeous and gentle synth and vocal melodies that abound on We Only Love You. And on the stunning “I’ll Carry You,” Coseboom’s vocals are at their purest and most fragile, as they flutter and glide over vaguely Oriental rhythms and muted beats.
This is an incredibly promising debut, guaranteed to appeal to fans of both the early 4AD and Projekt sounds, as well as to the clubbers of the world. When I first got this, it barely left my player and even impressed some of the guys at work. I can’t wait for Halou’s next album, which sounds like it’s coming along quite nicely. I could listen to stuff like this forever.