zooey-the-driftersWonderfulsound – 6th January

Lazing on a hammock somewhere between Metronomy’s English Riviera and a modern-concept Noir film, London-based Bordeaux duo ZOOEY take us through eleven tracks of kick-back ambience with their debut daydream project, The Drifters.

It’s an immersive record; an indulgence of electronic sounds which place emphasis on atmosphere as opposed to memorable melodies or extravagant production. This is what makes Matthieu Beck and Marie Merlet’s binding effort so refreshing as a debut; it’s not over-hackneyed electro-pop, but rather, graceful, halcyon electronica, bringing it back to basics.

There’s no hype around The Drifters. Don’t head in expecting to discover the latest banger either. The record boasts hypnotic percussion, thumping rhythms and droning synth chords, along with trickling arpeggios, pianos and Balearic instrumentals (‘Jóia’, ‘Joya’, ‘La Réalité’); it’s not a highly lyrical album, it’s a cinematic experience, with a clear noir aesthetic.

Having said this, opener ‘Realise, Realise’ would not sound out of place on a Metronomy or even a Caribou record, parading rhythmic gallops and wonderful minor-keyed vocals, with second stand-out, closer ‘Marcher La Nuit’, reminiscent of more ambient tracks from fellow French duo, Air.

‘Time To Get Alone’ appears nostalgic with themes of freedom, whilst ‘The Country Song’, an adaptation of Bill Callahan’s ‘Let’s Move To The Country’, offers an, albeit similar, rendition as a dreamy duet, with echoes of flute, organ synth and the simplicity of a piano – it’s minimalism at its finest.

The duo’s debut is a very much homemade effort: it was, after all, recorded in their London home studio. Regular use of drum machines and repetitive instrumentation means that the record doesn’t really travel or develop, but this is apt for the genre, and highlights its quality as a works of entrancing ambient music.

It would be inaccurate to imply The Drifters is an album to be had on repeat on your daily commute; although applauding its musicianship, it’s simply not that kind of record. It does, however, provide a fitting break from the largely on-trend theme of bold electronic pop songs, instead bringing Parisian class with electronica in its most naïve simplicity. It’s not revolutionary, but something perhaps missing on today’s music scene. For this, ZOOEY present The Drifters as a highly promising works.


Buy: ZOOEY – The Drifters