Triomphe Seul is the second LP by local band RAKAM (comprised of Marc-André Roy, Simon Quevillon, and Einar Jullum). The album’s quirky blend of experimental and electronic pop with a tinge of jazz perpetuates a charming silliness fuelled by wacky synths and playful vocals.
“Nouvelle Flüte” and “Hillup! Jeune” are prime examples of the album’s joyous bizarreness. In “Nouvelle Flüte” and “Hillup! Jeune” Roy adopts a David Byrne-like charisma that’s backed by experimental pop instrumentation. However, with “Buildings on Demand” and “Triomphe Seul” RAKAM hone in on the album’s tamer new wave and synthpop elements.“Buildings on Demand” fuses animated Devo-esque beats with vocals akin to Andy Partridge of XTC (think “Senses Working Overtime”). Meanwhile, “Triomphe Seul” harnesses a fuzzy transmission-esque tonality reminiscent of The Buggles classic “Video Killed the Radio Star.” RAKAM also highlight their jazzier side with “Law School Dropout,” where they foster a whimsical melody sprinkled with blasts of saxophone. Yet, straying from Triomphe Seul’s overall idiosyncratic sound are the dreamy instrumentals “Beresford Overture” and “Cowboy’s Universal.” With “Beresford Overture” the band develops a synth melody reminiscent of the instrumental in Mac DeMarco’s “Chamber of Reflection.” Then, on their final track, “Cowboy’s Universal,” RAKAM lace synth pop with folky undertones and gently draw their album to a close.
To some, RAKAM’s experimental eccentricity, though fresh and daring, may be slightly inaccessible. Nevertheless, Triomphe Seul exudes a sense of playful warmth that is hard to come by. Those looking to remedy a bland palette of listening will find much to love with RAKAM’s latest offering.
– Review by Soraya Mamiche Afara