Growing up in Montreal, it is far from rare to hear a band playing songs in both French and English. Seldom, however, do we see trilingual bands. Founded in 2013, Montreal’s Jazzotopes are an English, French, and Estonian band that play in the genre of Nordic jazz fusion. Their latest EP, Soulscapes, features a range of sounds even though it is no longer than twenty minutes.
The album opens up with the track “Curieuse”, which is extremely reminiscent of the classic songs that came out of France in the 1950s. Much like its classic counterparts, “Curieuse” sounds as though it would be perfect for a romantic and fun film soundtrack. It’s more upbeat than the average classic French song, and with a slight modern feel. The song, accompanied by the beautiful voice of Mari Sild, provides a nice, upbeat sound that is fun to listen to.
The second track, “Get It On”, alternates between slow and fast. It is the perfect track to be heard playing in a quaint cafe, while at the same time, it would be appropriate to dance to. It is both relaxing and energetic with wonderful lyrics that show off the band’s linguistic skills, employing both the English and French languages.
The title track was surprisingly the weakest track on the entire album. The vocals were still strong, but not as pleasing as in other tracks. The musical accompaniments were excellent, but they somehow overpowered the vocals a bit too much. Its mood was also a lot less uplifting, a marked change from the other songs on the EP.
A nice Estonian piece closes off the EP, a song which is catchy and hard not to dance to. The music flows effortlessly with the vocals. It has a more posh sound than the rest of the songs, and feels like an appropriate way to end the short little journey on which this album takes you. It instills happiness in its listeners with every beautiful piano note.
Overall, this is an album I would recommend for lovers of faster modes of jazz, as well as those willing to experiment with their music tastes. It’s perfect for those who need an escape, but also for those who would like to get up and move along to the music.
Written by Franca G. Mignacca