Envelopes is a little known band from France, so little known that no one wants to release their record in the United States besides iTunes. However, their second full length, Here Comes the Wind, is definitely one of the more complete releases of 2008.
If one was to label the band’s sound, you would be pretty close if you threw it under the genre of jangle pop. The melodies are bubbling full of brightness, making the joy of the songs immediately accessible for listeners. Throughout the album, the band presents you with hook after hook, encouraging you to bob your head in shear ecstasy.
Vocally, they combine male and female vocals, as if they were trading roles. At times, the vocals recall Frank Black’s Pixies yelp, but at other moments it’s the croon of David Byrne they seem to be evoking. Despite reference points, they seem to mix it up enough to keep you interested, as no song sounds exactly the same, which is what most of us seem to enjoy.
Lyrically, the band has never been one to provide the deepest meaning in their songs, which we could blame on the fact that the band is working with a second language. Still, the lyrics are easily distinguishable, which allows listeners to hold onto certain songs, and sing them loud for all of your friends.
Most noticeably, you can feel a true influence of the Pixies. The bass lines sound as if the band jumped Kim Deal and stole her stylings. Angular guitars crash into each other, creating waves of beauty. But, at the core of it all is a true pop sensibility, free of the darker elements that went with their immediate influences.
This album is wonderful through and through. It won’t wear you out after hundreds of spins, and each time you put it on, you seem to get more out of it. A complete album is a rarity nowadays, so head on over to iTunes and pick this one up before your friends get hip.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/10-03-heaven.mp3]
Download: Envelopes-Heaven [MP3]