Today’s Sounds: Woodkid

The extravagant, operatic and celestial debut LP by full-of-himself Frenchman Woodkid, PLUS dark wavers Cold Cave get their hate on and Iggy Azalea shows how hard she’s gotta work it.


Woodkid, The Golden Age (Universal)

Forget the horsemen: the true harbinger of the apocalypse is a diminutive Frenchman with a closet full of fashionable hats. Yoann Lemoine doesn’t cut corners when it comes to his day job directing music videos for the likes of Katy Perry and Lana Del Rey, but it’s as his musician doppelganger Woodkid that his true delusions of grandeur kick in.

His debut full-length is so extravagant, operatic and celestial that one can’t help but be coerced into believing Lemoine might actually be able to harness thunder and lightning with a stroke of his styled beard. Although it was aided by a well-timed torrential downpour, his Osheaga 2012 performance was a ripping good time of biblical proportions, provided you believe Adad, Shullar and Hanish are into grandiose electro-orchestral music.

The album lives up to the Gilgamesh flood myth on a sonic level, without hitting particularly hard on any emotional one. In a sense, The Golden Age is about a half-decent mortal singer emoting over the soundtrack to an epic, classic film — or at least some sort of Gregorian celebration of the endtimes — but it’s a contrast that works. Musically, stampeding percussion, seraphic woodwinds and declaratory horns are all supersized for maximum dramatic effect. Woodkid’s first EP proved he can do quiet ballads too, but The Golden Age has loftier ambitions.

As for Lemoine’s shaky vocals and functional, complementary lyrics, upon further consideration I preferred hearing the not-so flamboyant architect of his own tunes struggle to fit in, rather than had he superimposed some cheesy popera mercenary instead. An orchestral album such as this could have easily turned into a hammy Josh Groban project for the cool kids, and to Lemoine’s credit it mostly just feels like an ego-tripping Frenchman delving into his fractured childhood memories of church and coming out swinging for the fences.

Woodkid will perform at this year’s Jazz Fest.


Cold Cave, “People Are Poison”

Former hardcore frontman Wesley Eisold has spent recent years fusing dark wave and arena-synth-rock as Cold Cave. The band hasn’t released a record since 2011’s Cherish the Light Years, but here’s the B-side of a new single that leaves that Depeche Mode song in the dust. (I thought those lyrics were terrible when I was seven.)



Iggy Azalea, “Work”

Iggy Azalea, born Amethyst Amelia Kelly, is fascinating in her way, whether you find her and her music awesome or awful. It’s an exercise in excess, and maybe she could stand to improve the way she walks that line. But as you’ll see in this video for her latest single (to be featured on her forthcoming album The New Classic), she’s still workin’ on her shit.

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