In Une Version, Quebecois artist Peter Peter presents a set of
pop songs that have a quite consistent feel to them. They convey an
emotion that is very near sadness or melancholy, but with a touch
of…something else. Is it hope? Stoicism? The title of the album means
something like “an improved kind of sadness,” which feels appropriate.
Seemingly heart-felt lyrics (my French sucks too much to really follow
the songs, but I get the impression of a lot emotion and existential
quandaries. You know, French stuff), electronic sounds, keyboard, and
bitchin’ saxophone solos(!?!) contribute to an atmosphere appropriate
for listening while taking a long stroll through the streets of Montréal or
Austin, pondering the mortality of all that we hold dear, while at the
same time acknowledging the healing power of time and the
transcendence of bonds beyond death. Or maybe that’s just me…
I’m a big fan of Girls and when I heard Christopher Owens was leaving to pursue other opportunities I was afraid he’d just sort of burn out and disappear, so this album comes as a sort of relief. Owens describes Lysandre as an album that describes his life surrounding Girls’ first big tour and as such can be considered a “concept album.” This album succeeds in ways that many concept albums fail in as much as the individual tracks are generally enjoyable without being aware of any unifying theme but like other concept albums seems to compromise quality to conform to the concept (read: I don’t really think any song competes with Owens’ best material with Girls). Having said this, if you like Girls, you’ll more than likely find something on this album you really like, I have. Tracks 1 and 10 are statements of “Lysandre’s Theme” which recur in many tracks (the ubiquity of “Lysandre’s Theme” on the first half of the album gets a bit tiresome) and I would avoid them, but are pleasant enough if you need to kill ≈40 seconds. Of special note, New York City (track 3) has an extensive sax solo and Riviera Rock (track 6) is a reggae tune, so if you tend to like any of that, give those a spin.