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Frànçois & the Atlas Mountains: E Volo Love

Signing with Domino unites Frànçois & the Atlas Mountains with a roster that includes The Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Anna Calvi and Villagers. It also makes them colleagues of Quasi and Max Tundra. 

Frànçois Marry and his gang haven’t quite been handed the golden keys, but what makes Domino's first French signing a snug fit are new label mates The Pastels, a long-time inspiration for Marry, King Creosote, who he has associations with, and Animal Collective and Wild Beasts, both of whom E Volo Love sonically echoes. The NME has already declared that Frànçois & the Atlas Mountains are one for Wild Beasts fans. All this context means that Marry has some task ahead of him.
 
E Volo Love is in album cloaked in gauze, with some beautiful moments. 'Bail Eternal' is a swoon, 'Piscine' is a Pet Sounds-ish lament that sighs with loss. But it lacks an arc. Hints of where E Volo Love might be going aren’t delivered on. Gentle, Afro-tinged cuts suggest E Volo Love could be a reflective counterpart to Animal Collective. But 'City Kiss' might as well be Sarah Records’ mainstays The Field Mice.
 
Some questions. Why is the wordplay title of E Volo Love so close to that of Camille’s recent album Ilo Veyou? Why does 'Buried Treasures' melodically and structurally follow Radiohead’s 'Creep'? And, more central to what this album is, why do the Afro-inclined elements all-but peter out after the third track, 'Edge of Town'? It’s terrific that Marry sings in both French and English, but E Vole Love cannot decide quite what it is – UK-indie-influenced pop or something more exotic. Instead of uniting the two, they exist side by side.
 
Marry has played with both Movietone and Crescent (he spent time living in Bristol) and Camera Obscura. The last Frànçois & the Atlas Mountains album, Plaine Inondable, was issued by Fence Records. He's also been released on Too Pure. His links with the UK mean the arrival of E Volo Love, his fourth album, on Domino should be no surprise. But what’s surprising is how measured, how tentative it is.
 
Kieron Tyler
 
www.francoisandtheatlasmountains.com