Under Review: Laetitia Sadier – The Trip

What will you do when your band goes on hiatus?  Chances are, you’ll record a solo album that may or may not sound like what your band’s next album would sound like.  As leader of one of the best pop groops around, Laetitia Sadier’s solo debut comes with a number of expectations.  Naturally, Sadier would not only be forgiven but welcomed should she concoct a Stereolab sound-alike, but she instead takes a more subdued approach on The Trip.  Sure, Sadier’s breezy, breathy vocals define and guide each song, but the music is far less bubbly than the direction Chemical Chords suggested a few years ago.  Of The Trip’s 12 selections, three are interludes running 30 seconds or shorter in length.  The nine proper songs fall into mid-tempo saunters, letting Sadier’s voice and multilingual lyrics take center stage.  Sonically speaking, “Statues Can Bend” comes close to ambient and “Another Monster” falls between bossa nova and spy jazz.  Two French selections, “Un Soir, Un Chien” and “Ceci Est Le Coeur” sound like slowed-down Stereolab tunes; pleasant enough but nowhere near as knockout catchy.  A languid take on Gershwin’s “Summertime” is the last proper song of the set, and while it’s one of the most over-covered songs around, the longing imbued by Sadier’s tone makes it jive with the album’s arc.

It could be the brief running time or the stop-start staggering thanks to the aforementioned interludes, but little from The Trip holds up to the high bar that Sadier’s career has shown her to be capable of clearing.  Only the opening track, “One Million Year Trip,” with its clockwork backbeat and abstract lyrics referencing Sadier’s sister’s suicide, would’ve sounded at home on a Stereolab album.  Still, the fact that The Trip doesn’t really sound like a Stereolab album is refreshing, as it shows that Sadier’s interests reach beyond the realms she’s comfortable exploring with her band.

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~ by E. on September 22, 2010.

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