A tantalising stand-alone EP...

Christine and the Queens delves into her emotions once more on intriguing new EP ‘La vita nuova’.

2018’s ‘Chris’ found Heloise Letissier exploring her carnal side, a record that revelled in the physicality of sound and the artifice of performance. Her new EP feels detached from this, occupying a realm entirely outside of her previous work, while overlapping with some stylistic traits.

Opening track ‘People, I’ve been sad’ is a glacial introduction, a sonorous, slow-moving evocation of melancholy that might just contain one of the most affecting vocals of her career.

Kicking off a nuanced, multi-lingual new EP, ‘People, I’ve been sad’ is Chris at her most direct, a sharply poetic account of ennui that smothers you in sound.

Barbed, muscular production drives ‘Je disparais dans tes bras’, amplifying the machine funk evident on ‘Chris’ while adding something distorted, almost industrial. A sort of feminine counterpart to Nine Inch Nails, the darkness of the electronic production is offset by that playful vocal, with Chris overlaying her own harmonies, in communication with herself.

‘Mountains We Met’ is a tender piano-and-vocal piece, a hushed, twilight hymn of departure. ‘Nada’ meanwhile incorporates tropes from the lexicon of 80s digi-pop, the icy nature of the sound working alongside Christine and the Queens’ potent vow: “never ever ever coming back again...”

Title track ‘La vita nuova’ finds Chris sparring against Caroline Polachek, two staunch auteurs allowing their voices to intermingle. It’s a poised moment, with those two distinct, much-loved artists spiralling in and out of each other’s deliveries, working for a common aim.

A surprise drop, the EP is completed with bonus cut ‘I disappear in your arms’, a song that returns Chris to the industrial-leaning techno-pop which marks the project as a whole.

A potent climax, it underlines the self-contained creativity at work across ‘La vita nuova’, a rich, rewarding, and extremely direct return, one worth observing on its own terms.

8/10

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