Francois and the Atlas Mountains – Piano Ombre
A band picking up where a previous album left off can often be a point of frustration and the sound of a band stagnating, but in the case of François and the Atlas Mountains, 2012’s E Volo Love was such a joy that this misdemeanour can easily be forgiven.
Piano Ombre is stacked with the same euphoric tropicalia and multi-lingual harmonies that François Marry and his Bristol-based collective made their own well before their curious association with Fife's former Fence Collective first came about. And there’s enough here to suggest a band developing too; the woozy beats of Bois and The Way to the Forest are more Balearic than Gallic, and carried off with such swagger that it doesn't even matter that most lyrics are in French. But their lifeblood is cute, knowing pop like La Verité – the crowning moment on a consistently brilliant record, exectuted with real panache. [Stu Lewis]