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Album Review

Lasted is one of the first Benoît Pioulard releases to not have misty album artwork, and it's probably not a coincidence that this is some of Thomas Meluch's most substantial-feeling music. His earlier EPs and albums focused on his skill with sound design and arrangements, which draped an alluring fog over his songs. Temper lifted some of the sonic blur around his music, allowing Meluch's voice and songwriting to shine in their own right, but Lasted puts them front and center. This isn't a drastic change — the hypnotic guitars, dulcet vocals, and dreamy atmospheres that have marked Benoît Pioulard's music since Enge and Precis are still here, but Meluch uses them in a slightly more straightforward fashion. Where his songs used to be little more than shimmering glimpses, they now have breadth and depth: “Tack & Tower” builds into one Meluch's biggest choruses, while “A Coin on the Tongue”'s warmth is subtly familiar, as if you're remembering the song even as you hear it for the first time. “RTO” is the most accessible version of Benoît Pioulard's pastoral dream pop yet, reaffirming that Meluch can convey the pink-cheeked rush of being outdoors like few other artists, but the title track's finger snaps and electric guitars add a more metropolitan feel. While these are some of Meluch's strongest, most direct songs, they're still unpredictable: “Shouting Distance”'s good-natured folk-pop is made strange with unusual harmonies and a melody that takes the scenic route to its hooks. Lasted's sense of purpose extends to its found sound interludes, which feel like journeys to the album's full-fledged songs instead of breaks between them. “Purse Discusses” and “Passenger” make the travel motif explicit with looping train noises and chirping birds, and if there was ever a musician whose music was made to be played while gazing at a changing landscape, it's Meluch's. While a few songs return to his more impressionistic approach — “Tie” is masterfully textured, combing wooly distortion over delicate acoustic picking, and “Sault” evokes light twinkling on water — most of Lasted pushes forward, revealing Meluch as a more confident artist in the process. His music is still made for, and seemingly out of, reveries, but Benoît Pioulard's cohesive mood and ever-more distinctive style give Lasted lasting impact.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Multi-instrumentalist/writer Thomas Meluch -- who uses Benoît Pioulard as one of his musical alter egos -- combines found sounds, electronics, and atmospheric rock and pop in his various projects. A part of the Rattling Wall Collective in Dutch, a loose-knit group of like-minded musicians, Meluch also collaborated on a multimedia piece for the University of Michigan's 2003 Film and Video Studies Association Lightworks Festival. He played with half-a-dozen bands in the area, including his own Esmae,...
Full bio
Lasted, Benoit Pioulard
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