“Dans Le Noir” – Juniore
With the mischievous energy of something vaguely furtive, “Dans Le Noir” unfolds with an intricate overlay of ’60s-like sounds, from the folk-rock melodies to the spy-movie guitar accents to the psychedelic synthesizer flourishes. Before we get to any of that, however, take note of the introduction, which effects the satisfying trick of introducing without simply vamping on the main motif—what we get instead is an engaging guitar duet, with a lower-register, half-time melody backed by busy runs in the upper register. The song is thereby introduced, but we still don’t know exactly what it’s going to sound like. I like this.
The song itself is equally likable, driven by front woman Anna Jean’s cool, shadowy vocals, singing a cycling, minor-key melody that seems to keep yearning upward before pitching downward, aiming over and over for something not apparently reachable. The concise chorus, flattened and reverbed and buoyed by nostalgic harmonies, feels cinematic in a black-and-white kind of way. Anna Jean floats through its melodic poignancy with her self-possession unruffled—which actually renders the music all the more poignant somehow. In a similar (or not?) way, the entire song’s surface-level simplicity manages to convey a deepening sense of complexity with repeated listens. Somehow.
Juniore is a new band from Paris about which information remains sketchy, besides the fact that Anna Jean is in charge. She has previously collaborated with an assortment of other French musicians, but this appears to be the first time she is taking center stage. “Dans Le Noir” is one of two songs on the band’s debut 7-inch, released in November. A full-length album and a tour is scheduled for 2014.