Les Maximes

The French-speaking, Canadian band’s debut album is a collection of classic sounds with a cinematic feel which would be perfectly at home if they featured as lead songs in prominent Hollywood movies.

Mind you, the songs are not grand or orchestral or “cinematic” in that way. Instead, they are jangly, peppy, hooky, and all feel massively familiar. While a lot of the tropes used here have been used time and time again throughout the decades, every decision here sounds intentional and studied, leaving no room for speculation over the band’s creative abilities. They are a supremely creative bunch, who just want to make songs inspired by the movies.

Candiac is a freshly formed trio hailing from the town of Sherbrooke. The singer, Cherle, has been in the business for eighteen years. Having a couple of degrees in Music, Musicology, and Music Production, he’s not in any way, shape, or form, an amateur, and this shows in the level of intricacy that each track features, beneath the layer of accessible Jangle Pop. The album kicks off with the 2-part Juste Te Dire. A Power Pop anthem full of pumping riffs, chromatically descending passages that makes everything sound dangerously fragile and unstable, adding to the excitement of the tune. The horn section sees its introduction in this song via a crazy, vintage-sounding solo. The keyboard sounds are all top-notch and are gorgeously mixed in. We will come to see that fantastically colorful and balanced production, and mad horn section displays are mainstays throughout the record. The second part features a more prominent rhythm section, with faster, syncopated strumming. The drums drown beneath the weight of the loud rhythm guitars and the aggressive singing, so it is good that the rhythmic playing is so tight, and the soundscape is not mushy with layers of off-time strums. The solo is also spectacular. Laisse-moi sur mon feeling is a sensual pop gem that harkens back to the sweetness of 70s ABBA. With wailing guitar musings and a heartfelt chorus melody, it’s a beautifully written song with an intricate arrangement.

Ca s’appelle moi features a dichotomy of Beatles-influenced verses and choruses, with catchy claps, group chants, and sweet, weird chords, and a Surf Rock guitar that often breaks the pace and offers an adventurous counterpoint. Tant qui restera de l’amour features a rotary organ that’s truly Canadian, and a bass line that I at first mistaken for U2’s Trying To Throw Your Arms Around The World. Toute la nuit has some of the jangliest guitar sounds and some of the catchiest vocal melodies throughout the album, and a trumpet solo that’s pure taste. Noemie is pure catchy fun that sounds like all the songs in 90s comedies blended into a single sound. Intricate, detailed and very, very festive. Non Non Non is a sweet, driving tune, with gentle rhythms and haunting, melancholic rhythms. The arrangement is fittingly crisp, with minimal, roomy drums and an open-sounding piano. The vocals take the center stage with a lead part that’s rich and heartfelt, and backing vocals that add so much to the haunting backdrop of the song. Lover Boy is a dazzling, romantic ending that has dimly lit, jazzy atmospheres and a beautiful percussion part. The second half features some intricate vocalization on top of a writhing, modulating harmony, in a gorgeous display of nuanced musicality in the album’s closing moments.

Candiac’s debut offering is not for everybody, in how it is literally for everybody. The accessibility that the band decided to incorporate into their sound makes this offering sound outdated and overused… at first glance, but once you give it a chance, you’ll get to experience some of the freshest and most enjoyable Pop releases of this color. The perfect production and the purposeful arrangements all wonderfully serve the sound and help display Candiac as a truly professional act.