Benoit Pioulard - Precis + Temper 2xLP
Benoit Pioulard is but a pseudonym for a young avant-folk tunesmith named Thomas Meluch, who now lives in Portland, Oregon yet grew up in Michigan. His gauzy dream-pop has much in common with those sounds that spilled out of Michigan with Windy & Carl, Fuxa, Auburn Lull and even Veronica Lake in the mid '90s. There is a decided craftsmanship that further distances his work from the shambolic affairs that dominate his current hometown, yet this album is not without its narcotic impressionism through his gauzy smears of ambience across his wistfully strummed acoustic guitar numbers. Temper is his second album released through Kranky, and that's a damn proper place for the man. Well, yes, Windy & Carl do release records through Kranky; but his work also fits along very well next to Stars Of The Lid and Labradford. The album's opening cut "Ragged Tint" is atypically urgent in its doubletimed elliptical fingerpicking which speeds past Pioulard's vocals which are sort of like mumbling Stephin Merritt if we could make that sound like a very good thing. A heartbreakingly sad glockenspiel melody tumbles into the chorus of the song, tempered with reverb and delay to match the hue of his dreamy drone-pop. The rest of the album is set at a languid pace, more in keeping with the first Iron & Wine record, complete with lo-fi bedroom recordings and sad little ditties strummed across his acoustic guitar girded with softened Boards of Canada rhythms. Each of his songs are effortless, beautiful, melancholic and totally worth getting stuck in your head. He brackets each of his songs with softly treated field recordings made on a well-worn walkman that has never had its heads cleaned. So the rainstorms and birdsongs are cast in a mottled gray fog of thick tape hiss, which turns bleary and sad through Pioulard's treatments. As one customer who bought this record from us said, "it's too pretty not to buy!" This also comes with his first album on Kranky, Precis.