Le Futur Pompiste – Your Stories and Your Thoughts

Le Futur Pompiste
Your Stories and Your Thoughts

Some people believe that too much of something good can be bad for you, and I suppose this extends to the music sphere. Fortunately for lovers of 60s-style lounge pop in the southern European and Brazilian vein, Le Futur Pompiste’s new addition to the genre does not diminish the charms or joy of the listening experience, in spite of the band’s aural similarity to several impressive groups, specifically Stereolab, Komeda, and Ivy.

Released by one of the three great Spanish labels, Siesta, Le Futur Pompiste’s debut album, Your Stories and Your Thoughts, is a beautiful marriage of classic 60s pop instruments and melodies with contemporary electronics and gorgeous girl-boy harmonies. The Finnish quintet opens the album with “Sunflower,” featuring catchy percussion and attractive duet singing by Jessika Rapo and Einar Ekstrom. The vibrant, sweet lyrics are delivered with a genuine, carefree approach: “Beauty lies in the season, seasons do change some time / But they’ll always be back / Beauty lies in the music, music does end some time / But there’ll always be more.”

Tracks like “A Way to Exist” and “Pleasant Solutions” recall Stereolab in the mid-90s, especially because Rapo sings in a somewhat detached yet sensuous manner like Laetitia Sadier. Axel Ekstrom’s keyboard is the dominant instrument on “A Way to Exist,” and it fuses the song with an early 80s energy. Ekstrom produces sharp, choppy synthesizer lines that perfectly complement Rapo’s vocals. “Pleasant Solutions” finds Rapo explaining her frustrations: “Hours and hours I spend, to search my mind for pleasant solutions / But when emotions take over, common sense gives in for the temptation.”

Le Futur Pompiste’s inclusion of horns and flute through guest musicians is a wonderful revelation, especially on the crunching, multi-voiced “Don’t Let Go” and the slower, contemplative “When Waves Settle Down.” The rhythm section of Ville Hopponen and Johann Hoglund on drums and bass, respectively, maintains a perfect balance on every track, particularly shining on the beat-heavy, speedier “Pretend to Smile.” With an album drenched in so much sun and outdoor club sounds, a song at the sea seems mandatory, so “It’s Not You” serves that purpose. The keyboard swirls and spacey sounds form a polychromatic atmosphere straight out of 60s French Riviera cinematic scenes, and Hoglund dishes out hypnotic vibes.

Le Futur Pompiste’s final track on Your Stories and Your Thoughts is its most unique, with a much more electronic sheen than previous songs’ less manipulated appearance. “Seeds” is trippy, with lyrics covering volcanic eruptions, child survivors, and reprogramming. Somewhat paradoxically, Rapo sounds warmer and more affected here than she does on any other track. “Seeds” is an unexpected and delicious ending to a great album that’s ideal for dinner parties and long drives with the right mate in the summer or autumn.