Release Date: Mar 31, 2009
Record label: Dare To Care
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Faithlessness and free spirits at the crossroadsNot too long ago, Quebeçois cred was a reliable guarantee for at least a half-year of positive blog press. Yet rather than exploit the francophile fad after their breakout sophomore album, 2006’s Trompe-L’Oiel, Malajube weathered the calls to sign a major-label deal and sing in English. True to their word, Labyrinthes expands the band’s dedication to spiky and playful musicality.
Over 40 years after the Beatles decided that recording their hits in German was silly, pop music still seems uncertain about how to come to terms with its inherent Anglocentrism. The cultural dominance of two consecutive Anglophone empires has made English the lingua franca (ah, l’ironie!) of worldwide capitalist entertainment; any cultural form based at least partly in language must choose a language, and it can hardly be surprising when the chosen language is the hegemonic one. Domestic markets for music sung in local languages still have their niches, but success on a global scale presupposes Anglophonic lyrics.
"Malajube's music is labyrinthine," Pitchfork's Brian Howe wrote by way of praising the French Montreal band's breakout sophomore album, Trompe-l'Oeil , in 2006. With their city then under the indie rock microscope, Malajube (still say it MAL-a-zhoob) scanned as yet more ramshackle hyper-pop, language less a barrier than a Dungen-esque point of difference-- when it counted, say on the hook to commercial-bait standout "Montréal -40°C", these inaugural Polaris Music Prize nominees sounded no more francophone than, I dunno, Electric Light Orchestra. Media hype now gone home, Malajube up the labyrinthine stakes on Labyrinthes , daring re-entry.