Bleu Kérosène
L’artifice de l’aube
Quebec City, QC
RIYL: Patrick Watson; Daniel Bélanger; Half Moon Run

Bleu Kérosène’s origins stem from a gift pianist Jérémie Hagen-Veilleux gave to his sister, Erika Hagen-Veilleux, in the form of piano instrumentals written to support her spoken word poetry. It’s surprising then to hear how much this project has developed into a cohesive band, doing more than just acting as window-dressing for someone else’s songs or ideas.

If anything, Erika’s confidence and range give the band permission to also be as open and exploratory with their own parts which are complementary but never get lost in the mix. “Le fracas” is a bold and jaunty EP opener that feels jazzy with its choice of clean guitar, brushed snare, lively bass, and climbing woodwind parts (c/o guest Antoine Bourque). “Child,” the only song sung in English on the EP, follows, and also feels like the moment where the material really hits its stride—it’s complex but also unremittingly gorgeous. Its juxtaposition with the previous song makes the band’s sound difficult to pin down. The ensuing songs don’t make that challenge any easier as they flirt with styles across a continuum of post-rock, baroque, and jazz pop. 

While there’s nothing here as explosive as the album title, L’artifice de l’aube (the fireworks of dawn), might suggest, what Bleu Kérosène have accomplished is less about the bombast of a pyrotechnics show and more closely resembles the careful choreography of colours, shapes, and contours that are at play.

Michael Rancic