- - - - - -

Elyose - Ipso Facto

Elyose - CD Review
Ipso Facto




CD Info
Season of Mist
11 tracks
Mainly French lyrics


Elyose isn’t my typical brand of Gothic music. But, the brand of music it is is of such stunning quality that you just can’t ignore it. And much of that quality is the work of French vox Justine Daaé. The project has one previous release, I gave it a 10. This one is at least as good. The previous work had multiple languages, this one is almost all in French, which means I need help with translation. Fortunately, I understand enough to realize the lyrics are solid, but it’s that voice that brings you to your knees. And, it’s really more than that. There is solid metal here, maybe a little different than what we often encounter but there’s no denying the quality. The production also leaves little to regret. I asked Justine to identify the genre, from her perspective. Her response, “electro metal“. Interesting, I’m not entirely sure what that means but, as good as this release is, I’m not the one to argue the issue.

I’m guessing many won’t totally understand the mostly French lyrics so I asked Justine for some background and worked to translate a couple myself, with varying levels of success. Being of Cajun descent, you’d think I could handle this stuff better but I’m still early in my development. However, if you know one Romance language, you can generally make out the others to one level or another. Fortunately, with this release, the music is so overwhelmingly good you can pretty much get by without a complete understanding of the lyrics. Just sit back and listen, assuming you can stay off your feet while listening. This is boggy music, this is what gets the young folks on the continent off their feet at the dance halls better than certain drugs of my acquaintance which shall go unnamed but, well, you know what I mean. I’m afraid I may not be able to point to videos at this point, we’re some time away from release as I pen this material so vids are in short supply unless I get off my ass and do a few. Problem there is, it just warmed up here in the brutal North woods and my motorcycle is calling to visit bars up until recently buried under several feet of snow, but, we’ll see.

Well, I can pretty much sum up the material, for the most part, by saying this is hard, driving, dance oriented metal with a killer femme vox. The lone exception is the last track Contretemps, which is there to prove that Justine can do the beautiful too. This one sounds like it came from a dark, bluesy back room in the French quarter in New Orleans. I can see the scene now and, even though I’ve spent hours in those kinds of environments, I don’t think I ever heard anything better. But, this track is clearly the exception, good as it is. For the most part, what we get is what the release begins with, Fragrances. The start may be slow and haunting, some electronic pulse to it as it begins. But, the drums begin to point the direction and things begin to crank up. This one is that short intro we’re all familiar with, goes a couple minutes and gets you in the mood. And, it flows into the following track, Femme De Verre which brings us to full Ipso Facto metal. There’s a lot to this material from a production standpoint, the work with Justine’s voice as well as with the background material to provide a solid product. Lyrically, should you be interested, it goes like this:

Tu mènes ta vie / Comme un long défi

Cruel et sensuel / Tu laisses des traces
Partout où tu passes / Parfum de scandale
Mais, au plus profond de ton cœur,
Il y a, je sais, la faille d'une vie enfouie
Femme de fer / Fille de l’air / Femme de verre
Quand ton train de fer part à l’envers

The beauty of French lyrics is that they tend to sound good no matter what’s being said, but these topics tend to be interesting from a variety of perspectives. And when the vocal delivering them is as good as this one, you won’t get any complaints from me.

One of my favorite tracks is l’Animal-aimé. This one screams with sexual sounds and has one of the most bruising hooks I’ve ever heard. The vocals include a segment that goes:

Et tout ce cirque, moi je n'en veux pas
Mon apparat, tu n'y touches pas
Ma crise de foie, je la digère pas
Non, non, non, non

Justine kind of talks this section but that part at the end, “Non, non, non, non” stays with you, I”m not sure why. The song stays with you as well, well produced with a number of interesting twists. Justine talked about certain aspects of the track, “In l'Animal-aimé, ‘pas beau’ is a child expression that means ‘I don't like that!’, literally it means ‘not beautiful’. Then bobos has two meanings in the lyrics; it could also be a child expression to say ‘it hurts’ (a ‘bobo’ is a slight injury) or it could mean the fashionable middle-class lefty ‘les bobos’”. I didn’t see that one coming, especially with the musical delivery that brings it.

De Guerre Lasse is a pounding track, again making use of multiple electronic hooks to deliver the music. But, with this one, the message takes a different tack as Justine points out, “We live in a weird time where the planet is acting crazy: pollution, over-population, major damages on animal and vegetable species, global warming, terrorism, hijackers, enlightened Islamists able to cut throats and burn man in cages as if it was normal.. All of this can sometimes make you wanna split somewhere else, in your dreams... Like on another planet and start from scratch.” Comforting to know the French maintain their historic interest in all things political and meaningful.

Another track I asked about was Mon Charme, since I kinda thought I knew what that meant. The music is again a bit hard and I thought I had this one pegged. It’s some of the hardest metal on the release, gotta have a killer message right. Well, the girl doesn’t seem to like to fit the profile often, as her explanation suggested; “In this world of brutes, it's a poetic escape on the subject of relationship between the cat and the man (woman here) and the affection people have on cats. There are a lot of puns with words that have several meanings and could apply to cats in the literal sense and to men/women relationship (often sexual) in the figurative sense.

During the song, people think I'm talking about my boyfriend but in the end we guess it's a cat in fact.”

I clearly need to continue working my French language skills.

One of the things that appealed to me was the occasional symphonic sound. We got that with several tracks, they really set up the soaring femme vox that is the signature sound of this release. One of my favorites was Pour Un Écu. It’s also one of the easiest to follow the French lyrics:

Caressant alors la fine toison d’or
Elle sondait les annales du frisson digital
Elle se donna sans retenue
À ce p’tit cul tout nu tel un roi qui l’eut crue

Most of the tracks here are in the 4 - 5 minute range. Some may range a little longer but you hardly notice. They're all that good. Justine can go sexy like no one else but tracks that feature a harsh male vocal seem to make those tracks even better. Plus qu’Humain is one of these and it's a good one You’ll listen to this track a lot of times, great vocals, great guitars, solid production and a pretty good signature sound to capture the excellence of this release. 

There’s a lot to like about Ipso Facto, not the least of which is I’ve lost 10 pounds dancing to the music. And that’s after my customary 2000 yards in the pool. You can like it from a lot of perspectives, the music, the lyrical beauty, the production. . . . . But, in the end, it’s the vox. There are few to match it in our style of music. And, for that reason above all others, this is another 10 for notre belle chanteuse Francais.