La Vie Est Belle

Album Review of La Vie Est Belle by Petite Noir.

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La Vie Est Belle

Petite Noir

La Vie Est Belle by Petite Noir

Release Date: Sep 11, 2015
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic, Alternative R&B

81 Music Critic Score
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La Vie Est Belle - Excellent, Based on 6 Critics

Drowned In Sound - 90
Based on rating 9/10
90

Yannick Ilunga has been searching for space. Born in Brussels to Angolan and Congolese parents and now armed with a debut record written in Cape Town and recorded in London, it’s no wonder this is an artist for whom 'nowhere feels like home. ' Instead of hunting for the geographic though, as Petite Noir Ilunga has embraced that rootlessness and found home in a sound and ideology to call his own: noirwave, a defiant and deliberate attempt to challenge 'the way we’re trained to think that everything that’s white is forward-thinking'.

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Under The Radar - 85
Based on rating 8.5/10
85

The 24-year-old Cape Town, South Africa artist Yannick Ilunga's music isn't little and it isn't dark. Sure, the music he's released as Petite Noir is full of miniature percussive cheers and ominous bass, but Ilunga is more about titular contradictions than he is straightforward parallelism. His EP The King of Anxiety suggested a focus on voice and flair; his debut full-length, La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful, sees him scoop handfuls of intricate synth and bright horns, spread his fingers wide, and spill them through the gaps like sand in an hourglass.

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Pitchfork - 77
Based on rating 7.7/10
77

South African singer-songwriter Yannick Ilunga, aka Petite Noir, appeared on the Solange Knowles-curated Saint Heron compilation, but even with the alt-R&B scene growing broader as it grows larger, he still doesn’t quite fit in. There are elements of dance music, rap, and rock scattered throughout his debut album, La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful, but none of those labels quite describe his sound. And while Ilunga frequently incorporates elements of his half-Congolese, half-Angolan ancestry, his music shouldn’t be shoved off into that condescending, colonialist hangover, "world music.

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PopMatters - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

Yannick Ilunga has positioned himself as the frontman of a new genre: noirwave. This isn’t quite in the same league as Vaporwave, Seapunk, or any other such internet spawned and shaped sound. Instead, Ilunga has trademarked Noirwave to pose himself as peerless. The mixture of South African roots and 80s synth pop certainly is a novel enough mixture, but it’s Ilunga’s own innate talent that truly pushes his persona past his contemporaries.

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The Line of Best Fit
Their review was very positive

Every once in a while, a debut LP proverbially knocks the little cotton socks clean off your feet. It doesn’t happen very often, and it’s not always a pleasant experience, but in the case of Petite Noir’s 11-track masterpiece; pleasantries would be far from enough. La Ville est Belle / Life is Beautiful is fucking gold in every way, shape, and form.

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New Musical Express (NME)
Their review was very positive

Every once in a while, a debut LP proverbially knocks the little cotton socks clean off your feet. It doesn’t happen very often, and it’s not always a pleasant experience, but in the case of Petite Noir’s 11-track masterpiece; pleasantries would be far from enough. La Ville est Belle / Life is Beautiful is fucking gold in every way, shape, and form.

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