"In a previous life, La Féline was a threesome. Three voices joined as one on a handful of EPs with diverse influences, trying to find their place between musical genres, languages, and experiences, guided by the writing and the luminous vocals of singer and guitarist Agnès Gayraud. Then came Adieu l’enfance in 2014, the first album for which Agnès alone carried the feline fur, and made her mark. A unique voice emerged from the album, giving free reign to obsessions that had had only been hinted at previously. As cathartic as its title implies and entirely sung in French, Adieu l’enfance was also a rebirth with hypnotic new wave sounds, urban climates and introspective lyrics, a place into which the outside world would sometimes crash, in an explosion of broken glass.
As a doctor in philosophy and journalist who writes about other people’s music, Agnès Gayraud could have chosen to intellectualise her work. Instead, she has vowed to an ingenuous imagination in her own songs, as if to better affront the harshness of the world. It’s undoubtedly not by chance that her chosen style is pop – inherently naïve and spontaneous – but she deals with it in a very deep mode. Despite her heartfelt ‘adieu’, there’s still a childlike quality to her voice and her vision, a vision which melts into ours, listen after listen, until they are one. Perhaps the childlike part of her resonates with ours – behind their apparent simplicity, La Féline’s songs awaken surprising echoes in our everyday life and perception of the world. Seeing a wall of graffiti in the Parisian night inevitably brings to mind “Zone” and its video filled with urban scenes with dreamlike
colour. The vision is so strong, it’s difficult to be sure where our imagination starts and hers ends.
This way of looking at the world, both thoughtful and playful, involves marvelling at everything, finding something strange where least expected. While creating her second album, Triomphe, guided by Dionysus, the god of intoxication and lust (while the minimal synthpop of Adieu l’enfance had more Apollonian hints), she started by imagining herself as a ruthless warrior or Miyazaki-like wildling. “Senga”, the first single passes on the flame: in mirror-calm waters, Agnès the feline becomes Senga who talks to wolves, Senga who climbs the trees and knows the secrets of the forest. And we smile while discovering the hidden key to the track, written backwards in its title, like a subtle game of doubles and reflections. Haven’t we all dreamt of being a different version of ourselves, capable of accomplishing everything we ourselves cannot?
Triomphe is like some ambitious place where La Féline transforms the forest into a refuge, the sea into a primordial swamp from which to emerge reborn, and projects herself into a city of Tokyo where nature has reclaimed its rights. In this place we meet Greek gods and spirit animals (“Senga”), talk of renaissances (“Samsara”, “Le Plongeur” — pulled down to the depths by the sound of an octobass), question the place of man in the community (“Le Royaume”, “Comité rouge”). After looking inwards toward the intimate, her songs now open up to others, suggesting a whole unexplored world behind the veil of appearances in the background that we almost dare not lift for fear of going mad, like in Arthur Machen’s short story, The Great God, Pan. Is that not what is happening in the worrying final of the song “Gianni”, that sounds like a descent into hell, or in the liberating crescendo of “Royaume” where flutes and saxophones mix their strident sounds together in one ecstatic celebration?
Behind this ambiguous title and sleeve with its mystic look, the atmospheres are profound and sensual, the colours warm and the grooves sinuous. Between the lines pierces an imagination that has been nourished as much by movies as mangas, as much by ancient myths as popular archetypes. In the eyes of La Féline, the world exists in a half light, with fantastical colours, a place where opposites seek each other, seek balance. Here, the purity of expression is intense. Here, the savagery is sweet."
released January 27, 2017
All tracks are written by Agnès Gayraud
All tracks are composed by Agnès Gayraud, arranged with Xavier Thiry
Except "Trophée" composed with Paul Régimbeau
All tracks are produced by Xavier Thiry
Vocals, guitars : Agnès Gayraud
Synthesizers, TR 808 : Xavier Thiry
Bass : Sebastien Dousson
Drums : Franck Garcia
Saxophone : Yoann Durant
Flute, octobass : Michael Schmidt
Additional vocals on "Samsara" : Perrine Bailleux
Recorded by Guillaume de La Villéon at PAF between December 2015 and January 2016.
All tracks are mixed by Stéphane ‘Alf’ Briat
Mastered in France by Benjamin Joubert
All rights reserved.
"Depuis bientôt sept ans et plusieurs vies, La Féline construit une œuvre riche et profonde, sans équivalent dans la pop
francophone actuelle : électronique minimale, zébrures de guitares, comptines atemporelles et écriture littéraire. Le tout porté par une voix: cette voix, si puissante dans sa douceur et qui fait frissonner le coeur."