30-year-old Camille is still very much her own woman.
Sonja D'Cruze 2008-04-07
Parisian pop beauty, Camille Dalmais, has been busy cooking the books of vocal imagination on the follow-up to 2005's gold-selling album, Le Fil. Unlike its predecessor, which hung each track around the same long droning note, the punningly titled Music Hole reveals a more acute sense of playfulness and irreverent humour from the bewildering Gallic artist who bagged herself the French equivalent of a Brit and the Mercury Music Prize for her sophomore record.
Yet, for all her success, 30-year-old Camille is still very much her own woman. And as she sings in English for the first time here, she's still venturing into pretty much unexplored vocal territory. But despite the one obvious comparison to Bjork’s largely a cappella album, Medulla, Music Hole serves up a different kind of quirk, irony and melodic charisma. Take the Money Note which fittingly pokes fun at divas, including Mariah Carey's penchant for ridiculously high notes: ''If Dolly Parton wrote it/ And Whitney Houston stole it/If Celine Dion could reach it/ I'll hit the money note''. This before breaking into an old school electronic house climax as Camille wails: ''I just wanna beat Mariah! Where she herself hits a note that will make your dog's ears bleed!''. Our four-legged companions also get a rough deal on the piano led Cats And Dogs which parodies the old chanson style as Camille goes feral, imitating animal noises as she coldly reminds us that: ''Cats and Dogs are not our friends/They just pretend/It's just emotions we invent so we forget we're by ourselves''.
Her signature style of looped vocal scatting is still present, with instruments and electronics taking a back seat. With minimal assistance to her voice, she manages variously to tackle introspective r 'n' b balladry on Waves, cinematic storytelling on Winter's Child and tribally infused, uplifting gospel on Canards Sauvages; where she sounds like she's splashing with ducks in the bath.
Elsewhere, The Monk is transcendental. The layered harmonising has an operatic finale whose ethereal quality is a welcome interlude from more demanding aural experiments such as Katie's Tea.
Camille doesn’t seek anyone's approval as she muses on her musical roots in Gospel With No Lord. This a cappella popstrel knows she's got talent as she sings: ''I didn't get it from the Lord/But I know I got it''. She even slips in a cheeky ''merci'' to the listener on the silence which follows ecstatic album closer, Sanges Sweet. What a cutie..