After En Cavale (On the Run), her remarkable first EP released a year ago, she set off alone on the road and by train with her guitar and autoharp under her arm, thoughtfully sharing her songs like an elf with an already mature personality. With her associates, she thought things over, experimented and came up with arrangements that ranged from the epic to the minimalist, proving that folk roots are no bar to proficiently surfing the waves of pop.
Growing up means being a little disappointing, sings Pomme on Comme si j’y croyais (As If I Believed It). Yet she does exactly the opposite. The more she grows up (and she is only 20), the more she enchants and surprises, and, especially, the more she does just as she likes.
After En Cavale (On the Run), her remarkable first EP released a year ago, she set off alone on the road and by train with her guitar and autoharp under her arm, thoughtfully sharing her songs like an elf with an already mature personality.
She played a hundred or so dates, some of them as the main performer, but mostly as a curtain raiser, on occasion in huge packed venues (with Vianney, Louane, Olivia Ruiz, Coeur de Pirate, Benjamin Biolay, Yael Naim, and so on), and her sincerity and determination steadily won over audiences who had come to applaud more popular singers.
After that modest marathon, Pomme recorded her album À peu près, together with production duo Benjamin ‘Waxx’ Hékimian and Matthieu Joly, before returning to the road.
She drew on a catalogue of songs, which were written by or for her with one exception: A Lonely One, penned by Don Cavalli, whose English words (not about love that time) appealed to her.
With her associates, she thought things over, experimented and came up with arrangements that ranged from the epic to the minimalist, proving that folk roots are no bar to proficiently surfing the waves of pop. She played her three instruments (guitar, cello and autoharp) and added to a supposedly limited acoustic range, with bassoon on Ceux qui rêvent (Those Who Dream), for instance. She was also careful to avoid any pigeonholing genres, whether chlorotic post-folk or contemporary pop hobbled by dance gimmicks.
But what really stands out, what makes À peu près so special, is Pomme’s voice, which is astonishingly mature, nuanced, warm and sensual. Her remarkable vocal touch lends a caress to ordinary words and transforms everyday matters into moving poetry. Although she also sings about insomnia and parallel feelings, love is the major theme of the album, which focuses on throes of the heart and senses.
The songs embrace girls and boys. Stories unfold track after track, and we soon find ourselves making Même robe qu’hier (Same Dress as Yesterday) our own, humming along to Comme si j’y croyais (As If I Believed It), lingering over La gare (The Station) or melting to Là-haut (Up There). Pauline is a stylish tribute to Dolly Parton’s Jolene, with the same theme (but more incisive writing) and an unstoppable melody. It is a role-playing game that Pomme is delighted to turn into an addictive sitcom. Even if she does not listen to so much country music these days, the music of the heart of America still holds a strong attraction for her.
À Peu Près leaves us with the lasting impression that we have entered (or, to a certain extent, broken into) a deeply feminine world, which is never mawkish, but determinedly passionate, profound and appealing. Pomme will soon be performing the album’s consummate songs live, accompanied by a musician who has been working on different versions of the album with her.
Pomme was a hobo 2.0, a mascot of high-speed trains. “I love to get around, boarding a train with my instruments and suitcase. I love traveling. That constant sense of discovery inspires me.” And now she will be traveling with a partner, beginning with a stopover at La Boule Noire in Paris from September 18 to 21, before she goes back to shuttling between France and Quebec with her songs as her visa.
Clara, Juliette, Cléa, Fishbach… French song has never been as relevant as it is in the hands of these young women, who revitalize it with a delightful energy and intricate diversity. Pomme is the youngest (but by no means the least gifted) of that generation of determined, independent young women.
À Peu Près (More or Less) is an understatement: Pomme is perfectly present, exactly ready, ideally inspired and very much mistress of her art. Her fragile songs in their floral garb are actually watering holes, where anyone can find the freshness needed to perpetuate the species of people of taste.