Written by Leo Baldi
It’s been 4 years since Thomas Azier released his stunning debut Hylas. He made a name for himself with his heavy synths and a deeply refined industrial sensibility. He is back now with his second studio album, Rouge.
From the first track it is clear that Azier is not the type of artist to repeat himself. Piano instead of synth features heavily on the album, and together with guitars and soft drum lines it contributes to the overall sophisticated acoustic sound of Rouge. This is not to say that Azier has in any way abandoned his futuristic experimentation, on the contrary: every song as some incredibly unexpected elements, like the processed vocal track in Concubine, a deep bass in Crucify or the synth at the end of Talk To Me. You never get bored of listening to this album. The sound is so intriguing it perfectly manages to get the listener completely hooked trying to understand what is going on. Take Starling, you get three quarters into the the song, thinking it’s a really complete and realised track, and all of a sudden an arpeggiator starts orbiting around your ears in the headphones. Rouge is definitely full of ear-candy surprises and if you already fell in love with the sound of Hylas, do not fret, this album will not leave you disappointed. It’s much more profound and delicate and, while it is less explosive, it is a masterful effort. Worth the wait for sure.
Tracks like Call, Talk to Me, Concubine, Sandglass, and Crucify also stand out as lyrical gems that express a fragile sensitivity and a depth of feeling that is fully developed in Thomas Azier’s second album. “Water, water, water down my throat / I was sleeping when your sandglass broke” sings Azier in Sandglass with his peculiar vocal delivery and harmonious range. Rouge has the magical ability to make you picture the songs in your mind, with a palette of colours that all tend to inexplicably be shades of red.
Check out Azier’s single Talk To Me below.