Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble: Find Me Finding You (Drag City)
Aloofness and sensuality have long seemed to meet, or seemingly longed to meet, in the mien and especially in the voice of Laetitia Sadier. For roughly a quarter of a century, she has represented a “typically” French distillation of what happens when you mix such supposedly opposed attributes.
On Find Me Finding You, the first full-length from Sadier’s third real group, the Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble tries to deflect comparisons to her previous two groups, Monade and the Space Age-adoring, colorful drink-inspiring, retro-modern Stereolab.
But Sadier’s simultaneously flinty and bedroom-eyed voice—with the melancholy of Nico, the linguistic grasp of a mid-level translator, the creaminess of a thick slice of Roquefort and the cool vapor of an exhaled mid-January breath—is a constant and undeniably recognizable reminder of her artistic past.
The Ensemble punches distinctions through the fragrant, hypnotic fog of that past with bright flashlights of instrumentation: David Thayer’s flute, fluttering within an interlude of the subtropical “Reflectors”; an Abbey Road bassline and “Day Tripper” guitar in “Psychology Active (Finding You)”; and the flamenco hand-clapping in “The Woman with the Invisible Necklace.”
Hot Chip lead singer Alexis Taylor provides one of the sharpest distinctions in “Love Captive” as a duet partner who is also a gentlemanly, genteel complement to Sadier’s sense of romantic love as a hopeless trap, with generally wobbly keyboards and Rob Mazurek’s frenzied cornet as their choral agreement.
In the second half of the album, Sadier and the Ensemble are more leisurely, not hurrying the folk-rock stroll of “Galactic Emergence” or the looped chillwave throb of “Sacred Project.” Yet even the easy tempos and largely wordless backing singers call upon Sadier’s long fondness for smartly repurposed Bacharach lounge music. On Finding Me Finding You, she is both intimate with and distant from her history and her present tunefulness.