Malajube: Trompe-L'Oeil

By Shain Shapiro

This numbingly good collection of tunes came out in Canada six months ago and has been permanently stationed in my stereo ever since. Malajube (pronounced MAL-a-Zhoob) sings in French but it doesn’t matter because Trompe-L'Oeil stands outside of language.

Malajube is from Montreal, and Trompe-L'Oeil is their sophomore album. Their first, Le Complete Complet, landed them with cult status in Quebecois Canada but made little impact on Anglophone Canada, which makes up the vast majority of the country. Radio latched onto both records, garnering mass acclaim, awards, and modest sales. Trompe-L'Oeil is an expansive, genre-bridging collection of all things good in the modern art-rock - the ethereality of My Morning Jacket, the ballsy pro-activity of The Strokes, the hip-hop of Beans, and the simplicity of Bonnie "Prince" Billy.

While the collection fits together naturally, each song is distinctively disparate, a step on their thematic ladder. There's the spastic clang of "Pate Filo" and the danceable choir crescendo of "La Monogamie." The stark "Ton Plat Favori" has elements of honky tonk drenched rock sludge, and good hip-hop permeates "La Russe." Malajube does it all, and arguably, better than most. This is collection is a breath of fresh air, an unpretentious slop of filling overtures that flirts with a cooler-than-thou aesthetic, crossing boundaries and shaking them up. Trompe-L'Oeil is a strong, epochal work, one that defined Canada’s music scene in 2006 and is sure to help define 2007 in the States.

JamBase | Netherlands
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[Published on: 3/21/07]

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