Laurence Hélie is Mirabelle, a Montreal singer-songwriter who released two highly acclaimed Francophone folk albums in the early 00’s before taking time away from music, suffering from a creative block. She’s back with a reinvention of herself: a new title, a new sound, and a vengeance.
The album Late Bloomer is the culmination of a deep look into herself; the physical manifestation of the maturation of an artist.
Before delving into the individual songs off of the record, it is worth saying it is a beautiful whole. Brooding and blooming, it modulates on a fine line between emotions, genres, sounds, languages. Lyrics touch on self-acceptance and reflection, a celebration of oneself, embodying the title in every form. Hélie truly has flowered. Her patience has paid off.
The Mirabelle project depends on a core sound crafted with the production of Plants and Animals’ Warren C. Spicer. Drums hold the form of the record steadfast, clearly and softly, as dramatic chord progressions on guitar and piano are intertwined and engulfed by drifting synths from Christophe Lamarche-Ledoux (Organ Mood, Lesser Evil). But of course, the signature of the project is Hélie herself. Her vocal is so unique, simultaneously calming and celtic-ly wailing as she pops and floats through runs.
“Betty” is the crown jewel of the three singles released prior to Late Bloomer. She takes on a much more pop indie-psychedelic form here: think acoustic STRFKR crossed with Susanne Sundfor. Or a more electronic ‘The Cranberries’.
“Rose White” is a ballad laced with droning synths and samples. It’s really hard to not pay attention to her voice here. Enjoy it.
“Magic Spell” is a psychedelic music box. As the album winds down to a close, Hélie breathes through and lays us to rest. Dissonant, catchy, collected. One could say the same of the whole record.
Overall, Hélie has established the Mirabelle project in a great way with Late Bloomer. Now it is time to sit back and watch her go further. One downside: she’s set the bar high for a follow-up record.
Get the album here.