Norma – HELL.OVE: contemporary songs of love and hate

Inside, but only slightly next to the much richer, more attractive French folk / rock scene, Norma’s second album, is the appropriate name. HELL.OVE, which testifies to the poetic spirit, melodic qualities and fighting spirit of the young artist from Toulouse. A favorite.

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As we read the names norm quoted when asked about his sources of inspiration, one can only admire the musical ambitions it implies: Tom Waits, Nina Simone, Aldous Harding, Fiona Apple, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush… The bar is high for a young French artist who is not yet famous.

Norma HelloIf we can see and hear norm on stage, we were amazed at the remarkable determination he displayed: alone on stage with his keyboards and his voice, he balanced the texts – in English – with a remarkable frankness and brutality, in which he attack on the many “irritating” topics that still exist today, despite (or because of…) the rise of modern “feminist” movements. The songs of norm Discuss what it will be like to be a woman in 2022, emotionally, sexually and socially. In the face of machismo there is very little retreat, and very slow. Facing toxic masculinity whose violence is likely to double. The physical appearance – she is weak and very feminine – and the voice – with the sometimes childish accent – of norm let us not be prepared for the useful surprise of his speech, and it was a beautiful, a beautiful surprise.

If we listen to albums on normand HELL.OVE (good way of spelling the word LOVE, and clearly in the center point of the disc, between “hell is love” and “love is hell”) is his second after the provocateur Woman Forest in 2019, we are struck by the melodic mastery of norm -his “folk” songwriting is good and really drenched in a nice “pop” that is obvious-making it possible to open up to the public (we almost wrote, to the “general public”, because we didn’t see what to prevent norm to determine success) his speech of urgency and sometimes heartbreaking emotion, a speech that will not allow.

In short, norm an exciting actor, and HELL.OVE is a real achievement that is currently playing a loop in our turntables: the choice in favor of a raw, almost artisanal sound, which can be described as organic, with DIY sounds that mix the instruments (the reference to Tom Waits makes good sense…) allows the album to stand out from most of the production, whether well -polished or full of the engines of a lot of contemporary music.

The first three titles HELL.OVE, Bodyback (and the lazy backbeat), and most of all Crocodile Tears with his combative text (“ Theo wash your face with your tears / I’m more than a pair of hips and a good mouth kiss / If I’m a witch you’re bad. -Theo wipes the tears from your face / I’m more than a pair of hips and a big mouth kiss / If I’m a vampire, then you’re just evil) are three wonders that, indisputably, the rest of the album has some difficulty matching. After this memorable start, the disc will be more curious, perhaps more poetic, and will visit a variety of musical scenes, from country to soul, depicting a traveling and playful soul.

Traveling is great, but, in the end, the important thing is to find your place in the world. And for normonly the great spaces of America can answer his desires for freedom, violence, but also for peace: “ Endless Roads / Strangers in Cafés / I know there is a place I belong to (Endless highways / Strangers met in cafes / I knew there was a place in mine) she sang, full of hope and longing for a future that didn’t exist. again at the end of the album, A place where I belong. Maybe the next album norm should address this desire for wide open spaces more frankly: norm also mentions the name of Jim Jarmusch if he talks about the movie, we recommend him Stranger Than Paradise as the title of his next album.

Eric Debarnot

Norma – HELL.OVE
Label: Shortcuts
Release date: May 13, 2022

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