American singer Beth Hirsch first rose to prominence with French synth-pop dreamers Air in the nineties, on their classic album Moon Safari, and she toured with them, providing her distinctive vocals along the way.
That voice is even richer with time. At times she’s a Karen Carpenter but with more soul; at others, huskily akin to Joan Wasser, aka Joan As Police Woman. And the music often isn’t much of a departure from Air’s loungey pop.
Over twenty years later, this album, an acronym for “love is for everyone”, resides in that familiar collaborative space. This is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, there’s something comforting in the familiarity of these sounds – the introspection of I Still Believe In Love (featuring Bruce Winter and Reinhold Heil) with its solid Motown brass and rinky dink piano; or chanson referencing Down To You alongside Xavier Derouin and Pascal Reve, sung in French and English. On the other, more experimentation would be exciting.
Indeed, it’s in the odd moments when she lets go a little that things get more interesting. Grey Tropical‘s work on Path Of Magic brings iridescent Latin grooves, and it’s a bold production choice that suits her. The vocals too, have more passion than her usual laid-back, hushed tones.
The remix of All I Need (arguably her finest moment on Moon Safari) from ELIOT, surtitled “ELIOT’s Cosmic Remix”, strips the song back, really allowing her voice space to breathe, and adds drones and eerie tones instead of Air’s romantic melancholic organ. It really works, recalibrating the song for a whole new audience.
So the few surprises here are very welcome. Nobody expected party bangers and reggaeton, but for a sleepy hungover Sunday afternoon, you could do a lot worse than this.