Given the musical theatre surroundings which formed Maxime’s formative years, it is hardly surprising that the drama and style of some of that world has crept into his music. But this formal approach is tempered by the fluidity of pop, folk and indie sounds and the result is an album which benefits from the best of both worlds. Imagine Damien Rice’s fragility mixed with the sweeping drama of the stage and then cocoon that in a cinematic wash made up of clever musical motifs, wonderful sonic additions, everything from rigid raps to filmic musical brush strokes.
Welcome to the World is the perfect summation of the scope that Maxime covers, taking us from minimalist lows to staccato salvos of lyricism to smooth and soothing indie soundscapes. It certainly covers a lot of ground in just that one song. Damned is a gorgeous piano ballad of the sort which could easily bother the charts, or even with the right connections find itself placed in film or TV, which, after all, is where all the smart kids are aiming these days.
The album ends on Apologies, a song which seems to wrap itself in ever increasing musical textures, adds colour and panache to the core sound as it heads towards it’s logical, low-key conclusion.
It’s a surprising album, one that will catch the ear of the modern pop picker but which is also clever enough to pick up fans in more discerning markets too. It’s both smart and infectious, a combination which is hard to pull off but which is done with seeming ease here.