Bernerie Hills 2022
Pop-rock auteur chisels chanson-scented confectionary out of ether and have kindred spirits make it tangible.
This composer may say that his nom de guerre is derived from his surname, but Samuel Beckett readers who turn into Claude Gaudefroy listeners will nod knowingly at the existential slant of the Parisian artist’s debut record. A respected industry veteran, Claude has eventually come to the fore with ten numbers which are memorable and relatable at the same time – our point in time, hence the album’s title and the titles of two tracks on display which pitch the sense urgency in the platter’s melodious heart. Not surprising as, offering the audience ten slices of cerebral, if ever emotional, soft rock with electropop never far from its shiny surface and prog sensibilities rippling all over it, Gaudefroy finds musicians bound to play for the song and give the tune a proper flourish.
That’s how it goes for the quietly sparkling opener “Hot Time” where Godo’s reserved, yet passionate, voice and guitar set the pace for the other pieces to follow and where he’s sympathetically supported by the scintillating passages of Adam Holzman’s piano and the robust groove of Craig Blundell’s drums – the characteristics marking a few cuts here – while Stu Hamm and Simon Phillips drive the humorous “Who Stole My Car?” towards organ-oiled despair as Keemta Kim’s six strings rock and roll into the siren-seared night. But though the breezy, Latin-tinged “Cruisin'” is coated in frisky fusion and female vocals, and the nigh on ethereal “Light” flutters in the blaze of sax, the ivories-lit “Out Of Time” blooms with funky kind of balladry, contrasting the twangy “Last Calling” and the invigorating “Talking About” which pack a perky spank. And then the soulful, silken “Anyway” brings this brilliant album to a blissful, gossamer close – rather unexpectedly, leaving the listener yearn for more.
Hopefully, waiting for Godo’s next outing won’t take long; in the meantime, “On Time” has to be spun again and again.