An album review for The Weekend Australian published on July 21.
The young man at the heart of this band has been worth watching since he emerged in late 2009. Jonathan Boulet’s self-titled, self-recorded, self-produced debut was bursting at the seams with ideas (he played all the instruments and sang, too.) Boulet’s songwriting didn’t always hit the mark, but he certainly showed promise.
His other band, Parades – wherein Boulet plays drums – released one of 2010′s finest pop albums in Foreign Tapes. Now three years wiser, Boulet has enlisted four friends to fill out the band full time for album No 2, and the result is a much stronger collection of songs. In fact, barring the forgettable eight-minute a cappella closer ‘Cent Voix’, there’s not a bad song.
Drums and multi-tracked vocal harmonies are central in the mix. Around these two elements, Boulet and co intersperse glockenspiel, flute, marimba, guitars, handclaps and (probably) more. Lyrically, there’s little of note: he seems to consider words far less important than melody.
It is pop music, though, and with We Keep the Beat Boulet proves himself as a versatile leader of the genre. None of it feels forced. Each track bears a distinctive style and instrumentation, yet the album fits together snugly. This release has fun written all over it, from the ridiculously over-long album title (how many times do you think his label asked him to reconsider?) to the music itself.
The band’s vitality is contagious: one imagines these choruses exploding with energy in a live setting, auxiliary percussion and multi-part harmonies filling the room (or festival tent).
RATING: 3 ½ stars