Brightening up the local music scene

Montreal quartet le Couleur and their label Lisbon Lux Records champion a sophisticated synthetic pop sound

Le Couleur. Photo by Marc-Étienne Mongrain

In the mid-aughts, while most Montreal music scenesters and anyone looking in from the outside world was obsessed with our emerging chamber pop and indie rock exports, a clutch of like-minded electronic acts persisted in relative obscurity. Though bands from the punk end of that spectrum (les Georges Leningrad, Duchess Says and Dandi Wind) fared reasonably well internationally, those who took a lighter, more elegant approach to classic disco and synth-pop didn’t make many waves away from home. Many of them were submerged in this small pond, but a few would reappear, reborn.

Among the latter was Plaza Musique. By 2008, the band had dissolved and singer Laurence Giroux-Do and keyboardist Patrick Gosselin enlisted drummer Steeven Chouinard to take a new shape, as le Couleur.

Following up their impressive 2010 LP Origami, the band is back with a stellar new EP, Voyage Love, and a new bassist— Felix, their third to date, Chouinard tells me, laughing at my elusion to Spinal Tap (a bit nervously, perhaps because he’s the drummer). The EP was produced by their manager Julien Manaud (aka French Fox), and released by the label that Chouinard and Manaud have founded together, Lisbon Lux Records.

“Nobody else was interested in signing us,” Chouinard admits, “so we decided to start this, for us and all the bands we want to release. But it’s really modest — it’s fucking music, it’s fragile. We want to release one or two records for now and see where it goes.

“There’s just so much indie rock and folk [in Montreal] that we felt a bit alone on the island. We found that there was something missing in this scene: sophisticated electro-pop.”

For the moment, Lisbon Lux will break the bank to release le Couleur’s Voyage Love on vinyl, and work toward the debut release by a local 19-year-old model, a solo English-language chanteuse equipped with a laptop and keyboard — a possible pretender to the Grimes throne.

Le Couleur, via their NYC buds French Horn Rebellion (see the two acts collaborate in the “Vacances de 87” single/video below), will be playing shows in the States to complement the provincial tours and festival gigs they’ve got lined up. At some point, Chouinard and Giroux-do will get married, and the band will make an LP in their new digs.

“We’re working hard in the brand new Lisbon Lux studio. It’s not done, it’s not finished, but it’s a good place to rehearse and record and just to chill. There’s a good mood in there; we’re very proud of it and we’re very happy.” ■

Le Couleur launch Voyage Love at O Patro Vys (356 Mont-Royal E.) on Thursday, April 25, 9 p.m., free

Leave a Reply