sat 20/07/2024

Album: Madeleine Peyroux - Let's Walk | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Madeleine Peyroux - Let's Walk

Album: Madeleine Peyroux - Let's Walk

Ninth album from US singer is a quietly likeable set of retro jazz-blues contemplations

Chillin' with them old blues

Madeleine Peyroux made her name with her second album, 2004’s Careless Love. It consists almost completely of cover versions, delivered in a quiet, jazz-bluesey shuffle redolent of singers from the 1930s. She’s never flown as high again but has maintained a decent career, mostly mining similar sonic territory.

Her new album, and first in six years, does not wander far from the path, but is all originals, written with regular collaborator Jon Herington. Despite being spiked with songs that have something to say, it’s a deliciously lazy summer listen.

Contrary to a common perception, Peyroux is not French. She grew up on the east and west coasts of America, her home country. But she did spend some years in Paris, marinating in its flavours, which have always bled into her music. Let’s Walk is laced with chanson feeling, and one song, the lightly twangy “Et Puis”, is sung in French.

Peyroux tackles meaty lyrical themes, such as the murders that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement on “How I Wish”, a doleful waltz wherein she sings of “empty dread” and treading "between fear and disgrace”. The song “Nothing Personal” is about sexual abuse. It’s gentle slow moodiness belies its lyrical brutality. It opens, “You violate me/I feel you hate me”.

The overall feel of the album is not po-faced, though. Serious themes are approached but Let’s Walk does, indeed, walk about musical styles, restless. Opener “Find True love” is a twinkling, hushed celebration of New Orleans, lyrically bubbly. The title track refers to civil rights marches and is ebullient gospel-themed doo-wop. “Me and the Mosquito” is a flamenco jolly, as might be perceived from the title.

Whatever she’s singing about, Peyroux puts it through her stylistic filter and makes it palatable. What she makes is, in essence, easy listening, even on chilled blues cuts such as “Please Come on Inside” and the jazzy, jolly “Showman Dan”. But she does it with intelligence and wit, culturally aware and musically sweet-natured.

Below: Watch the video for "Please Come Inside" by Madeleine Peyroux from her album Let's Walk

Comments

Nice piece, but just the one 'h' in the Herington's name

Thank you, now corrected

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