Rencontrer Looloo, Chocolat’s second album after an extended hiatus, finds the band swimming through modal waters, somewhere at the confluence of hard jazz and surf metal, blended with a songwriting tradition that the media, for lack of a better term, often define as folk. A far stretch from the psychedelic kraut explorations of Tss Tss, the new opus is a sort of initiatory account of the band’s journey into orbit. Here Chocolat’s kaleidoscopic visions of space have been replaced by manifestations of stark, shiny white boulders, with edges sharper than a wild jackal’s fangs. Chocolat, will be taking this all on the road, starting May 29th in Burlington, VT.
First came a band bursting with unpredictable rock and roll violence in the middle of the new millennium’s first decade. Chocolat charmed critics with its Dylan-inspired French chansons, whose sophisticated arrangements didn’t completely cover up the band’s penchant for gritty garage tones. During this period, Chocolat released a straightforward and erotic self-titled EP in 2007, followed by Piano Élégant in 2008, a suavely romantic debut opus infused with rock and yéyé influences. Several concerts ensued, including a mini-tour with the late Jay Reatard… then the band completely disappeared from the public eye.
Although Chocolat went on a hiatus, its members weren’t exactly idle. Ysaël Pépin terrorized the globe as the bass player of Demon’s Claws. As for Jimmy Hunt, he explored his songwriting through a solo career, which, among other things, allowed him to recruit producer Emmanuel Ethier and keyboardist Christophe Lamarche-Ledoux (also a member of Organ Mood), yielding the wildly contagious Maladie d’amour (2013). Shortly after all this infectious madness, some strange force of nature brought the members of Chocolat back together. More fierce and fiery than ever, they released Tss Tss in 2014, an album whose expansive psychedelic sound and kraut-inspired repetitions earned the band international recognition and many tours abroad.
Rencontrer Looloo, which is probably the last release ever recorded at the now defunct Studio Victor, was produced by Emmanuel Ethier, written by Jimmy Hunt, mixed by Christophe Lamarche-Ledoux, and recorded by François-Régis Pagé and Louis-Philippe Kyer. The album features (in alphabetical order) Emmanuel Ethier on guitar, Brian Hildebrand on drums, Jimmy Hunt on guitar and vocals, Christophe Lamarche-Ledoux on keyboards and saxophone, and Ysaël Pépin on bass.
Rencontrer Looloo is out now via Dare to Care (CA), Teenage Menopause (France & Belgium) and Beyond Beyond is Beyond (US + Rest of the world), the record is available here.
Upcoming Chocolat tour dates:
5/20 – Boquébière, Sherbrooke, QC
5/29 – Monkey Bar, Burlington, VT ~
6/01 – TBC, Washington, DC ~
6/02 – Sound Hole, Philadelphia, PA ~
6/03 – Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn, NY ~
6/04 – Berlin, New York, NY ~
7/13 – Impérial Bell, Festival d’été de Québec, QC
~ w/ Bueno