All things considered, it’s been a good year for Sébastien Lacombe and the campaign he initially launched with the single “Gold in Your Soul” back in April. Just this past September, Lacombe dropped his latest album in Fly and a new single and music video in “My Thousand Dollar Car” quickly followed, taking the tone-setting format of “Gold in Your Soul” and pushing it over the edge into a post-pop territory I haven’t been able to get enough of since. A lot of chaos might be dominating the nightly news this October, but if you’re looking for a bit of serenity amidst the noise, this is the one singer/songwriter in Canada I’d recommend above many in the American mainstream.
There isn’t a lot of pomp, bombast or negative excess of any kind in Fly or “My Thousand Dollar Car,” the record’s biggest single and likely the poppiest piece of material Lacombe has stuck his name on since getting onto the scene a number of years ago. Actually, rather than locating any selfishness in the lyrical and instrumental ends of these compositions, I did find a whole lot of self-awareness, and at its best – such as “When the Devil Rides with Me” and the title cut – it feels more personal than anything this guy has written before now.
The rhythm of the collective in “Mr. Suicide Man,” “Gold in Your Soul” and “Rise” doesn’t need any big percussion frills or fluff to shape the emotional tone of the lyrics, and I would even say that by keeping the drum element subtler than the melodic components of the master mix, it’s all the easier for audiences to enjoy what Sébastien Lacombe can do when he’s got the microphone in his hands. This is multidimensionality as it was always supposed to be presented to us in the pop-folk subgenre, only it’s been re-stylized to suit a millennial era specifically (in my view, at least).
The video for “My Thousand Dollar Car” feels very surreal to the point of abandoning the cinematic cues that I’ve otherwise found in abundance across the indie spectrum in 2020, but as I would say about the hook in “Every Man Needs Loving” or “I Am Who I Am,” the individuality of the creations in Fly is what makes it such a tough record to put down once you’ve picked it up for the first time. It’s obvious to me that Lacombe didn’t care about going platinum as much as he did putting his personality to the audience in a crisp and clear fashion, and in that sense, he made an instant classic with this LP.
I didn’t know what I was going to be getting myself into when I decided to review Fly this month, but having found myself lost in its short but emotionally expansive tracklist on more than a couple of occasions now, I’ll be the first to vouch for its depth and artistic authenticity. If you weren’t a fan before, you just might become one after hearing this album, and I don’t think I’ll be the only critic singing the praises of Sébastien Lacombe for his work here before the season ends.
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