I first stumbled upon Anoraak while hunting for Tesla Boy songs during my recent craze of the Russian act on YouTube. Bless YouTube and those delightful related links. For once, they served their purpose.
Comprised solely of Frederic Riviere, Anoraak continues the French legacy of producing catchy, irresistible pop music. Riviere, of course, does it in his own special way. One refreshingly unique characteristic of Riviere’s latest full-length, Wherever the Sun Sets, is his use of acoustic instruments on almost every song. Where typically in this vein of music you would hear sampled drums, programmed synths and the like, Anoraak opts instead to properly record and engineer the use of acoustic drums, bass, guitars, etc. Don’t be misled though, there is plenty of new wave drum/synth programming, but unlike some of his contemporaries (notably, the ones who comprise the expansive and illustrious Valerie Collective i.e. Russ Chimes, College, etc.) they don’t dominate in terms of production of the song aesthetic.
That being said, you might say “Dolphins & Highways” is the exception. This is by far the most chilled song on the record and truly sparkles and shines, as such. Accompanied by Siobhan Wilson who beautifully lends her voice in aid to Riviere’s, the song starts gently enough as synths and the two’s vocal pairing paint peaceful visual imagery. Eventually the song finds its pace with a driving beat and while the introspective chorus, “Where do I belong?”, is repeated.
I can’t help but attach a Postal Service reference to this song as I listen. This might be what the Postal Service’s pop formula would sound like, if Ben Gibbard, Jimmy Tamborello, and Jen Wood had all been born in France. Yet somehow, I get the feeling that even if that were the case, they still wouldn’t capture the nostalgia that Anoraak has on Wherever the Sun Sets.
I guess it’s true what they say: the French just do it better.
Best Place and Time to Listen: Driving home from the beach, or driving to visit your lady/dude/friend. All during sunset of course.
If This Song Was a Celebrity It Would Be: Juliette Binoche