by John Pfeiffer
The other artist that knocked me out is Lili Roquelin, a diverse and stormy talent that attacks her piano-based compositions with a flair I would place as close to Kate Bush as I could get without getting my hand slapped. This former resident of the La Cote d’Azur moved into the USA and high gear at 14, honing skills in PR and Marketing that put her soundly in the path of TV, radio and production opps. She went from Cleveland’s Neverending Sundown (Universal Records) to New York City releasing her first fan-funded EP with Grammy Award winner Marc Urselli. Her new disc is titled Will You Hate The Rest Of The World Or Will You Renew Your Life.
Mixing a minimal feel somewhere between Portishead and Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lili’s lush gift of darkened tale is immediately vital and her ability to usher that honest emotion to the listener elevates her to the good stuff shelf. Her writing sense is unearthly and her voice is miles beyond the many pseudo songbirds flocking to the East Coast. Glissando smooth, and pitch perfect, Lili Roquelin catches your musical eye quickly. Like the passing of a strange and beautiful woman amongst a bustling gray sidewalk crowd you cant help but turn and look directly in her direction. And in this case, I’ve done a 360 to catch things I didn’t see at first. Complex changes, smart production technique and the romantic melancholy feel of this disc make for an addictive hotshot to the heart.
Stand out songs on her new disc are, “Should You Get Mad” an Annie Haslam-vibed gem that moves seductively in three-quarters with glistening piano rolls and sparse rhythmic tranceability.
“Give You My Love” is the delicious down beat hit filled with breathtaking bleakness and implored determination. Choruses come into full bloom with beautiful violin melodies, shuffled trip hop beats, and warm analog tinged pianos that wrap warmly around Lili Roquelin’s sure to be famous vocals on this underground jewel.
Her version of Danny Elfmans “Sally’s Song” (from Tim Burtons Nightmare Before Christmas) is eerie with its spiraling piano orchestration, urgent and ethereal vocals and original Roquelin production treatment that puts this song way over the obligatory “cover tune” bridge. The Stormy and baroque feel of “Renew” is a multiple platform filled with level after level of twists and turns, vocal and music going from major to minor, half stepped trills and sprinklings up and out the dark and mysterious mind that is Lili Roquelin.
Lili Roquelin is a forward thinking artist possessing scary talent and an ambitious eye on the future. If you’re into Kate Bush, Beth Gibbons, Annie Haslam or Skye Edwards, this is the girl for you. And you can see her at the Cape May Singer Songwriter Conference at Altheas Restaurant on March 27 at 8 p.m. For more information visit sscapemay.com or liliroquelin.com.