Croche Songs Of The Red Dragon

Label
Foundation Petya Sasser Rike
Released
19th July 2024

Format Info

LP - black vinyl

Croche is a new-to-us artist called Gabrielle Desjean but I suspect it’ll be an artist name that resurfaces frequently in the future. Sumptuous, fragile and gorgeous R&B inflected bedroomified pop music that, I have to say, we completely eat up ravenously here. Deep bass pulls, instinctive melodies and a powerful emotive core that belies its DIY origins, Songs Of The Red Dragon is a fiery keeper. 

Everyone needs touchstones I guess, so where to start? Of recent action, if you dug Astrid Sonne’s foray into structured, sung music you’ll be setting out on the right foot. More abstract that Nite Jewel, say, but definitely shares some of the dreamy R&B-isms: Desjean clearly thrives in the reeds of her DAW (It’s a computer music term, just means the program she’s recording on, ok?) with some absolutely stunning passages of glistening, Digital synth work and thudding, joyful beats carving up the space between your ears. Songs of The Red Dragon is clearly a “bedroom pop” record but Desjean possesses not only top class production skills that make much of this sound H-U-G-E but also some serious music chops that she doesn’t beat into the listener. On the titular Red Dragon her vocal acrobatics surf the waves of synth pads like Caroline Polachek several registers lower. I Am Stone is an absolutely pounding New Age habag disco slammer, with the kick side chained into next week. Really hard not to move when this is heating up the headphones.

Tracks like Aliens Calling are lovely detours, with processed acoustic guitars and a multi-tracked vocal which feels free, naturally pouring out Desjean’s vocal chords with ease and freedom. In fact, these days hearing electronic pop music without that PC Music-coded autotune feels like some small victory for humanity. Like on Falling Walls, an a cappella vocal performance with Desjean’s harmonies pricking the shivers up the spine. The abstract vulnerability of the closer Where Is My Mind reminds me a tiny bit of Berntholer, but that’s solely because Desjeans has a Francophile accent, but it can’t be a bad thing to be reminded of Berntholer in my book.

A pretty great debut that’s going to get many spins here.