Coromandelles // Late Bloomers’ Bloomers
Porch Party Records
Recommended Track(s): Mon Chemin
Somewhere in the belly of a Parisian tavern, a velvet-jacketed Jacques Dutronc is puffing his cigar in quiet satisfaction to the “faux French pop” vibes of Coromandelles. Ok, probably not but I bet he would dig it. Late Bloomers’ Bloomers is the first release for rock triumvirate Daniel Michicoff (Tijuana Panthers), Joe Plummer (The Shins) and Matt Maust (Cold War Kids). Influenced as much by the films of Godard and Truffaut as their own musical contemporaries, Coromandelles’ debut is a welcome addition to the growing roster of Porch Party Records artists.
Things get started with the crisp little guitar solo and slick drum interplay of “Cameronria”. Michicoff laments about sitting in traffic and the loneliness of life in LA. You know it’s a song about intimacy and validation in a digital world when he sings, “There’s no one left who you can trust/fickle little creatures so full of lust”. Deep rolling bass lines set the tone for anthemic indie slow burner “New Ordain”. There’s a little Birkin/Gainsbourg vocal exchange going on featuring Naomi Greene. While her voice is beautiful, it’s all a bit too cutesy for me.
“The Project” uses much of the same formula but kicks it up a notch. Crazy what a little extra reverb, some twangy guitar and backup vocals can do for a song. This track has the album’s most mainstream potential. Think coming-of-age independent dramedy montage scene (not a dis!) “Mon Chemin” is my favorite and also happens to be a French language cover of Bass Drum of Death’s “Way Out”. It’s a sexy song polished and washed out to perfection with a sultry punch to the vocals that will have you wishing you got past “Je m’appelle” in French 1.
“Jaq” is stylish, loose and rebellious like a young Alain Delon in a tailored suit. I assume its namesake is an homage to the aforementioned Dutronc, himself a dapper 60s rock icon overseas. Title track “Late Bloomers” is actually my least favorite of the bunch. It’s one of the few songs in English and feels out of place. With lines like “we’re too young to feel this old/we gotta get it/need to face reality”, Coromandelles aren’t exactly winning any MacArthur Fellowships. Not every song has to have life altering lyrics to be great, this one just feels a little contrived.
Doo-wop throwback “Bumble Bee” is a cool addition with great guitar tone that will inevitably bring comparisons to King Lollipop or Guantanamo Baywatch. “La Reve” or “The Dream” could slip comfortably into the vaudeville pizzazz of Gainsbourg’s Bonnie and Clyde with its playground laughter, maracas and stick claps. “End of Mad Men” is a meandering psychedelic romance story that I am in love with until it gets drawn out a minute too long. “Seadeaux” closes shop with a sampling of old movie dialogue and such a heavy buildup that it sounds like some kind of Warhol Factory guide to acid tripping.
Something tells me this wasn’t a super serious project and everyone had a ton of fun making the record. So even if Late Bloomers’ Bloom is a bit of a mixed bag, the treats it offers are worth a spin. In the words of a late great pop savant, “Je t’aime…moi non plus.”