Review Summary: Expect big things from Pascale Picard.
Wait, so where did Pascale Picard come from anyways? Her band was formed in Quebec City only a year ago, but they've been rather busy ever since. They recorded an album, Me, Myself, and Us
, which went platinum in Canada last November. They performed at the MIDEM (Marché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale) in Cannes, France, which opened them up to European listeners (particularly in France, of all places, where Me, Myself, and Us
will drop in June). And perhaps most significant of all was Picard's surprise appearance at the 2008 Junos, where she was up for Artist of the Year. Of course, there was really no way Pascale Picard was going to top Feist (who won), Avril Lavigne, or Celine Dion (unfortunately), but it's still pretty impressive that she got as far as she did in such a short time.
But then again, considering the folk influenced alternative leanings of My, Myself, and Us
, it isn't all that astonishing that Pascale Picard (or the Pascale Picard Band, as they are interchangeably referred to as) would manage to impress mainstream audiences. The majority of Me, Myself, and Us
is fairly uplifting endeavour; it makes use of an intimate alternative sound as well as singer-songwriter pop, at times combining the two and at times deviating from this blueprint. That said, the band's debut album manages to avoid being formulaic, and sounds quite fresh.
Though Picard's captivating voice is the most distinct aspect of Me, Myself, and Us
– and is especially alluring in singles, "Gate 22", and "Smilin'!!", the most impressive aspect of the band's sound is the instrumentation. The song writing trio of Picard, guitarist Mathieu Cantin, and bassist Philippe Morissette lay down lush musical passages which conjure up a variety of emotions ranging from the sombre resignation of "Useless" to the carefree textures of "When at the End of the Road". "Sorry" is a powerful, low-key song that relies on soft acoustic strumming as much as it does on the lyrical delivery. Picard's half spoken, half sung lines of "Maybe I’m much too close to jealousy / Lost between regrets and melancholy
" capture the insecure emotions of the song extremely well. On the flipside, rockers like "A While" and "Annoying" are the most rousing songs on a fairly calm and collect album, and they do an excellent job on portraying a different side of the band. Especially the outspoken "Annoying", where Picard loses all semblance of melody and control, instead opting to scream and shout the "I hate you's" and f-bombs scattered throughout the song. It's…quite an entertaining listen, to be perfectly honest, and collectively with "Gate 22" and "Unconscious Liars", is one of the album's standout tracks. In the end, the most endearing quality of Me, Myself, and Us
is that while each of the album's songs are tied together musically, they each enjoy a degree of distinctness that separates them from one another. Provided that Pascale Picard manages to maintain qualities such as these, it shouldn't be too much to expect big things from the band.