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LISTEN TO THIS REVIEW
Closer - Chic Gamine
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RELEASE INFO

LABEL: Lucky Fox Records
RELEASE DATE: 03.19.2013
FORMATS: Physical, Digital, Vinyl

Band Members

Andrina Turenne: Vocals, Keys, Guitar, Percussion
Alexa Dirks: Vocals, Keys, Percussion
Sacha Daoud: Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Annick Bremault Vocals, Keys, Percussion
Ariane Jean Vocals, Keys, Percussion

BIOGRAPHY

Winsome, wicked and witty, Chic Gamine embody the ‘60s girl-group vibe all grown up and living in a new century. Wall-of-sound harmonies, hip-shaking beats – these women could be straight out of Motown, before you throw in the curveball of French pop and four rotating lead-singers. By all the laws of the music business, this group is like the unicorn – it probably shouldn’t exist, let alone be performing at the Olympics and winning Juno Awards. And yet, here they are, soon to release their official U.S. debut, a group singing soulful, captivating four-part songs that artfully span the musical map.

In 2007, three Winnipeg-based friends and former band-mates Ariane Jean, Andrina Turenne and Annick Bremault recruited Montreal drummer and percussionist Sacha Daoud, and a fourth singer, Winnipegger Alexa Dirks, for a fresh new project. Utterly seductive, Chic Gamine’s Canadian debut album teased with traces of Daoud’s Brazilian roots winding their way underneath the irresistible vocal hook of rhythm and blues, nouveau-pop and vintage soul. Chic Gamine alchemized these mixed elements into compelling musical magic.

Chic Gamine’s musical relationship has been fruitful from the start; a demo flowed effortlessly from their first recording outing in 2007. Then came a score of performances across North America where audiences went wild. Highlights include opening for Motown great, Smokey Robinson, and playing in a lineup featuring the legendary Mavis Staples - who ended up revealing to the awestruck band-mates that they reminded her of her family, the Staple Singers. In 2008 came their self-titled Canadian debut, which went on to win a Juno Award for Best Roots Album of 2009. Chic Gamine has since been a regular feature on critics’ best-of lists, won a coveted spot on Radio-Canada/Espace Musique’s Musical Revelations of 2009/2010, and enticed the world to fall in love with their performances at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Also in 2010, they tucked their sophomore Canadian release under their belts, and were rewarded with a second Juno nomination, also for Roots Album of the Year. 2011 was spent touring intensely, playing U.S. and Canadian music festivals as well as a 6 month, coast to coast tour with Marc Broussard. Up next, their long-awaited first official release in the United States, due out in early 2013.

Chic Gamine (which translates roughly as stylish mischievous young thing - let’s face it, the French say these things so much better) will tease and tempt you with a nostalgia-inspired, fresh new sound – the mix is indescribable, but unbearably tasty.

Do you believe in Chic Gamine? You’d be a fool not to.

Reviews


Saturday March 30th 2013, by Paul Pop! for The Pop! Stereo Review Round Up

The strangely named Chic Gamine showed up on my desk with their rather cryptically titled album Closer. Now, I say cryptically because there was really no other information to go along with their record except a blurb about this band and how the French say things much better than the rest of us. That's it. What does it all mean? I have no idea, but what I do know is that Chic Gamine are a bit of a neo-soul group that utilize mutli-part harmonies, French lyrics, and a bit of a throwback sound that strangely ends up sounding modern.

Closer isn't fantastic but it's not a bad record per se. It's just a bit too modern R&B influenced for my taste and at times almost reminds me of something like a less produced version of the legendary En Vogue or TLC or something like that. While those influences are quite prevalent throughout Closer, the whole thing ends up sounding like a modern pop record with some alternative influences and even a few songs sung in French. You can see why it's not a bad record. Packed with soaring diva-like vocals, crisp beats, and some acoustic instrumentation it really sounds like something that Amy Winehouse could have produced after a bender just not quite as cool. Chic Gamine have some intriguing ideas and have come up with something completely listenable...but I didn't find it completely likable; it was just a little too middle of road for me.

If you like your modern R&B with hints of nostalgia and bits of non-standard soul music then Chic Gamine will impress you. Closer fits perfectly into the soul-revival/neo-soul category rather neatly despite being rooted in 90's R&B. They've got it all going for them in those categories, unfortunately, it all sounds a bit same-ish to me.

April 17th 2013 Triffology for CrayonBeats.com Soundcheck

I need to get you all familiar with one of my newly favorite bands! So, pay attention. Chic Gamine – roughly translated as stylish mischievous young thing–is a band from Canada that seems to have time-traveled from the 50-60s girl group era, reinventing the doo-wop sound with modern flare. Aside from their gentleman drummer, Sacha Daoud, this band has 4 front women rocking mics and instruments. The ladies are Andrina Turenne (vocals, keys, guitar, percussion), Alexa Dirks (vocals, keys, percussion), Annick Bremault (vocals, keys, percussion), and Ariane Jean (vocals, keys, percussion).

They have already released two albums–their Canadian self-titled debut album in 2008, and the second in 2010. Their first release won a Juno Award for Best Roots Album of 2009. Other achievements include a second Juno award nomination for their sophomore album; opening up for Smokey Robinson; being embraced by Mavis Staples, who said that the band reminded her of her family band The Staple Singers; and performing at SXSW this year.

After a year of touring North America, the band released their official U.S. album, titled Closer, on March 19th, 2013, via Lucky Fox Records. In this new album, they harness their sound even more, which is created through powerful voices, soulful vocal harmonies, playful pop melodies, vintage R&B rhythms, passion, and fun, danceable beats. Their poetic songwriting skills are superb, telling stories about love, heartbreak, and life. And, whether happy or sad, they like to keep the songs youthful and upbeat.

They are fantastic and refreshing–I’ve gotten goosebumps listening to some of their songs. I strongly urge you watch the videos below and stream the songs, and to purchase the album if you’re feeling them. How could you not be?!

May 9th 2013 By Tom Jenkinson for HeyManCheckMyBand.com

I’m not entirely convinced by Chic Gamine. Not a great start to a post is it? It’s true though, there’s something about them that has me hooked, but then, I also can’t help but have moments of objectivity in which I listen and can’t see how I did like them so much. And then I hear them once more, and I change my mind once again. It’s a cycle and type of indecision that’s actually a startling rarity for myself. As you might notice, our posting has diminished somewhat recently, and even before then it has always been focused on showcasing acts we believe in. When that’s the case, there’s little real room for indecision, and as such, often acts that breed ‘indecision’, are overlooked.

There’s something about Chic Gamine though. In part it stems from HMCMB’s mutual appreciation for fiery female leads: Meg Myers, Kyla La Grange and the of course how could we forget The Gossip’s ultimate diva Beth Ditto. Sitting around forlornly discussing love lost or gained, insecurities bested or succumbed to, but often there’s a little attitude gets you a whole lot further.

Sure Chic Gamine don’t really have an attitude, or at least, that’s not their artistic direction, but they certainly aren’t wallflowers. There’s something fun and uplifting about their pop group esque set up, 4 talented women sharing the vocals and their friendly male drummer who, it’s worth noting, has been known to a rock a fierce cowboy moustache. Facial hair envy aside, you did read correctly. 4 vocalists and a drummer. In fact it’s that raw set up that makes it so engaging, between the clever percussive claps and actual drums the bare bones beat allows the vocal harmonies to shine through in a motown soul meets pop music kind of way.

It also helps these guys sound like they’re having a ton of fun.  Days and Days shows this perfectly, all melisma, clapping and massive groups chorus like some sort of crazy acoustic R&B set up. But with less woman beating wanksters – here’s looking at you Chris – and far more cross genre soul and pop influences. I apologise that i’m failing miserably to describe their fairly idiosyncratic sound. You might just have to listen for yourself.





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