Track Review: Benoît Pioulard
“Précis” is a dense album; Michigan multi-instrumentalist Thomas Meluch (aka Benoît Pioulard) imbues the tracks with layer upon layer of reverb, instruments, percussive clicks and hits, crackling background drones, and subtle samples with an astounding sense of organization and precision. With regards to dynamics and tasteful busyness, Meluch’s work is masterful. In fact, his only quality that fails to consistently deliver is his vocal melody. Though the grandiosity of his compositions often far outshine his own voice, there are exceptions that, needless to say, provide for the album’s highlight tracks. “Triggering Back” is one of those exceptions.
“Triggering Back” is not a long song by any means—clocking in at two and a half minutes, it breezes by effortlessly. Propelled mainly by an acoustic chord pattern and backed by his standard army of noises and instruments, the first minute of the track is home to a vocal melody that skips happily downscale, spends a few minutes brooding in his mid-range, and climbs back up. It’s an unforgettable vocal performance, really—those first fourteen notes have a way of staying with you, putting a spring in your step.
Though Meluch’s lyrics, as on the rest of the album, are somewhat mysterious (but significantly so—you get the sense that they’re not just babble, you just don’t quite understand them), the verses of “Triggering Back”, as with the melody, contain a few exceptions. Meluch seems to be dwelling on memories of a love lost (“I found away to set aside / the fact that I adore your / laundry lists and long promenades”), even in its worse moments (“some hesitation bears ready mention / turn off the station / to multiply the tension, darling”).
Then, at the minute mark, the song breaks down to a simple acoustic picking pattern and spends several measures quietly building up before giving us one last verse melody and fading out under Meluch’s vocalizations. It’s over before you know it. But what’s really impressive about the song is its tendency to linger, despite its brevity. The song may have ended, but its far from getting out of your head. And this is what hints at Meluch’s true potential; the ability to take his stellar sense for songwriting and give it a catchy and emotional vocal delivery to match.
Benoît Pioulard - Triggering Back
- Dominick Duhamel -