Don’t judge a book by its cover! Even in the world of pop music, there can be multiple rhythms, harmonies and complex arrangements beneath sweet accessible melodies. La Battue is all of this : a trio that’s all about experimentation hidden inside sunny, easy-listening songs.
Their second EP, “Get Set, Go!”, is the next step in this exciting musical collaboration, inspired by each member’s personal journey. It has taken a long time for the project to take form. The musical paths of Ellie and Bertrand JAMES, Franco-English siblings, have run parallel, without ever really meeting artistically, until now. It has taken them the time to grow up, and the experience of divergent musical careers as well as the encounter with Yurie HU, a Korean musician, to get this diverse family together in the same band. So, even though La Battue officially started in Rennes, Brittany in 2018, the idea of the band was taking shape over time well before this moment.
Each band member has gained experience on the French and International stage for more than 10 years ; be it in Mermonte or Bumpkin Island for Ellie, as drummer of Totorro for Bertie, or in YachtClub for Yurie, among others. All these projects have, in their own way, allowed them to explore complex song structures, and the creative energy of live music. La Battue is a mix of all these roots, unified by influences such as Beach Boys, Steve Reich and Radiohead.
“Where we come from, we listen to indie math-rock as much as pop music. We love playing with polyrhythms, tricking the listener into thinking it’s simple whereas there’s a real complexity beneath, in multiple layers.”
Their first EP, Search Party, had a very lo-fi surrealistic aesthetic ; the music had a dry British humor to it. But the project has evolved. On “Get Set, Go !” the first single of their second EP, there is a more elaborate poetic imagery, but the unrestrained drums, the use of analog synthesizers and trademark vocal harmonies are all still present. The second single, the languid “Tamsin Gray”, starts out deceptively calm and light, until it builds up into an unstoppable tidal wave of emotion. At one with the music, Ellie’s lyrics relate to mental and physical confinement, the search for escape, ultimately leading to the light with a philosophy of optimism.
Let’s be clear : La Battue aren’t depressing ! On the sublime “Acrasia”, the ambiance tends towards dark and deep, influenced by trance and repetitive motifs, to complete the palette of musical colours. But ”Get Set, Go!” is first and foremost the celebration of a certain ecstasy, the like of which can be found in bands like Broadcast, Dirty Projectors or Grizzly Bear. The artwork created by Italian artist Daniele Castellano, drawing on kitsch animals in very human situations, underlines the band’s sense of humor and lightness of touch. They refuse to take themselves too seriously.
« La Battue is our pop laboratory, but it is also our family ».
In every sense.
Photo credit : Laurie Guillemot
Biography : Guillaume Cohonner