After a few years spent in various bands in Paris (lately Two the West), Lionel Giardina has changed life style and address. It seems to have opened new musical horizons since Lionel, under the name of Lion Says, has given birth to a very inspired solo album. New Folk is also a finely arranged folk music piece. Genuine return to the roots of the genre or French UFO?

The first quality of New Folk is its ability to take the listener to familiar territories. One may think of Midlake or Fleet Foxes’luxuriant Neo Folk. Hear reminders of Nick Drake’s melancholic arpeggios or Girls in Hawaii’s radiantly majestic Pop. Dylan’s shadow may be seen in the background too. But Lion Says’ brio is somewhere else: New Folk is about opening perspectives, moving beyond the codification of specific musical genres. A fascinating balance shines throughout the album: vocal harmonies, guitars and violins develop a broad sound palette, at times dark and at others particularly bright.

No doubt English speaking folks will be able to grasp a few literary allusions, from Wilfred Owen to Jim Harrison, J.D. Salinger… References to works of fiction seem to run naturally through the album and in a perfectly assumed way. Some songs tell us about typical meta-fictional characters, lost in existential questions, playing Dharma Bums. Each narrative is finely crafted and appears open to many interpretations. Lion Says’ art is also about not giving us all maps on the domain… to get us lost eventually?

Lion Says draws his listeners into a luminous and exhilarating sound maze without tiring them or falling into a pointless stylistic exercise. This is also why this piece of music is a genuine achievement. Far from copycats and straight out of school song writers, Lion says manages to escape the all too common prison of artistic influences and reaches us through a singular and personal language.

Press agent : Jean-Philippe Béraud (Martingale)

Musical editor : Xavier Collin (WTPL)