Review: Chateau Marmont – Sound Of Shambala

The long-awaited new album from French electronic duo Chateau Marmont, consisting of Raphael Vialla and Julien Galner, is due for release on the 30th March 2015. Following their 2013 album The Maze, Sound of Shambala is being released via their own label Chambre404 and Arista/ Sony Music.

Opening track ‘Nothing To Hold Back’ introduces the first glimpse into Steffaloo’s effortless, soulful vocals, accompanied by layers of varied percussion with clear influences from all around the globe. ‘Don’t Cry’ follows this, with Ben Van Looy’s velvet-lined voice providing the perfect contrast to Steffalloo’s sugary sweetness. It begins with muffled vocals and piano chords before launching into an infectiously catchy house track, and this unexpected twist in genre is a theme which runs throughout the album.

Chateau Marmont’s electronic expertise is obvious in ‘City of Giants’ and ‘A.T.T.S’, both of which are tinged with Daft Punk inspired robotic vocals. The crowning jewel, however, comes in the form of ‘Everybody Is Somebody’: a masterful electronic track, the repeated refrain of which is destined to stick in your head for days. It isn’t hard to imagine it being played throughout the summer, with its sound being varied and diverse enough to suit either dinner, pool or beach parties.

Sound of Shambala proves that the duo are not merely one-trick ponies, either; ‘Music Is My Land’ and ‘Somebody Else’ highlight their ability to take it down a notch with hazy, chilled tracks, the latter starring the hypnotising vocals of Stella La Page. True to form, though, the album ends on a high with ‘Paris La Nuit’, fusing contemporary dance, electronic and house sounds yet remaining understated and effortlessly cool.

Chateau Marmont chose an accurate title when naming the album after a mystical Tibetan Buddhist kingdom. The duo takes the listener on a journey traversing through Europe, Asia, Africa and America before settling back in Paris, all the while retaining a sense of magical, mesmerising wonder. The blend of genre and influence ensures that it is never clear where the next track will go, something which is sure to set Sound of Shambala up for inevitable summer success.

Mollie Carberry

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