Jazz / Singer-Songwriter
RIYL: Madeleine Peyroux, Lana Del Rey, Amy Winehouse
Jazz music is polarizing. There are those that love it. There are those that hate it. Then, there are those that enjoy it – as long as they are met with music that matches their sonic palette. Marie Louise transcends the hate with her third record Sleepless.
Louise and her backing band (Zura Dzagnidze, Kasia Kadlubowska, and Fabian Wend) create music from a unique aural scope. While there is the standard guitar, bass, and drums, percussionist Kadlubowska also incorporates vibraphone movements throughout the record. The inclusion of the instrument is refreshing. It is not an instrument you hear much in contemporary music. That said, tracks like “Milchstrasse 10” and “Baptism” contain wonderful instrumentation and orchestration.
Further, there is a deep, female crooning style to the record. Her voice is the equivalent to a Lana Del Rey, or a Madeleine Peyroux. While some might decry this comparison, the singing style is very similar. That said, Louise does it better than both. Her voice, paired with the articulation and the use of multi-faceted instrumentation really makes the record so much more diverse than expected.
Later in the record, Louise brings in electric ukulele. When paired with driving bass, the softness of the uke and the thickness of the bass create a fascinating sonic dichotomy. We here this pairing on the album opener and title track, but it also appears throughout the rest of the record. Lyrically, the themes Louise convey show a fragile openness. Songs like “Invisible” are easy to connect to, especially when dealing with social anxiety. “Ego” works to express the same message. It is one of many songs on the record sung in a different language.
Conclusively, if you are not a fan of jazz music, but like a singer-songwriter vibe, Sleepless is for you. Marie Louise and her band create music that is soothing, yet introspective. While jazz is not on the hearts and minds of younger generations, perhaps Louise and company can change their minds for the better.