It’s been four years since the release of Les Chansons de l’innocence retrouvée, their cinematic strings, their chiaroscuro decor of the mundane and shady London of Francis Bacon and the Kray twins. After this overpowering Diskönoir which would later result in an exhilarating tour, Etienne Daho was ready for a new adventure. It takes shape in the name of Blitz, the "lightning war", that the singer wanted as a challenge, giving to general torpor the finger, and encouraging us to remain "flighty in the face of danger", from someone who in these last few years has emerged stronger in many battles and has never lost his casualness of life, nor his phenomenal inspiration. Evidently it is one of his most adventurous albums of (nearly) forty years of pop, high-flown psychedelic fresco and, at the same time, the collection of mind blowing ballads which add some chapters (Les Flocons de l'été, L'Etincelle) to this variation of the French elegance, of which Daho is the undisputed leader.
At the start of the album, however, Etienne’s musical direction still orientates towards England, which again indicates one of the magnetic poles of his musical culture, Syd Barrett, of which he once had taken over Arnold Layne and Late Nite, an obsession that has never left him. By chance, Daho discovers a couple of doors from his London residence, the place where the ex-member of Pink Floyd had lived, in Chambre 29, where photos for the cover of Barrett’s first solo album, The Madcap Laughs were taken. That was all it took to Daho to set his machine of fantasies in motion, especially since Duggie Fields - Syd’s roommate since the start of the 70’s – still lives there. The voice of this eccentric painter and musician thus opens Blitz. It is all about a "door in the desert", of "another world", and here we go for a long and romantic journey with some “Filles du Canyon”; evil wild and feminine creatures, an electric western with a dark groove like a crow’s flight. The steps taken will be numerous and unexpected, because Daho has never baffled people so much, to finally always get back on his feets, with an innovative drive; but remaining 100% ‘Daho’ to the core.
Musically, this album is based on ‘the find’ and ‘the reunion’. As usual, Etienne tried to find a rare marvel among the anonymous stream of record releases; the first album of The Unloved, a project led by Americans Jade Vincent and Keefus Ciancia with the British producer David Holmes. The turbulent atmospheres inspired by the brilliance of Motown's productions, Lee Hazlewood's country-panoramic view and the twin peaks toxic vertigo, could only seduce Daho, who has been searching for similar creative feelings for years. Perfectly in sync with their new French correspondent, The Unloved will print their unique trademark on two titles of this great work, The Deep end and its trance with oriental reflections, as well as the final “Nocturne”, a sublime starting song in the form of a promise.
On another note, Etienne is back in touch with Fabien Waltmann, the main artisan of his all-time favourite record, Eden, released in 1996. Twenty years after their creative alliance, they are once again jostling the landscape of pop made in France (but from London) by deploying on no less than seven songs touches of psychic guitars, rich in cosmic undulations, opening on wide spaces (Les baisers rouges) or plunging inside a vortex in full Floyd-like turbulence (Voodoo Voodoo). Looking closer at Jardin, a probable future hit, Daho mentions a loved one who has disappeared; through an outburst of colors and perfumes that testifies to his taste for the everlasting nuptials of life, rather than for the black lace of grief. And if the Daho theme of "endless summer" is approached here in reverse (Les Flocons de l’été), we will see the evocation of a cursed summer of 2014 where the singer was bed-ridden before emerging even more determined than ever to know now only the first days of the rest of his life.
In addition to working with The Unloved and Fabien Waltmann, Etienne is also continuing to work on Blitz by collaborating with Jean-Louis Piérot, who already worked on most of Chansons de l’innocence retrouvée. Once again, he creates three songs with multiple inspirations, from L'Etincelle with a slow-surfing guitar and backlit strings, to Hôtel des infidèles with cabaret accents inspired by Kurt Weill and the romantic breath of the Resistance, going through to the epic Après le Blitz and its multiple twists. On this piece of bravery that crosses as much the memory of the Beach Boys as that of the stars disco, with subliminal background of a Parisian Friday the 13th, where hell was never been so close, Etienne invited Flavien Berger to bring his lightness of an angel on an ecstatic choir piercing through the night, to his work.
Après le Blitz, after this crossing to "the other world", the apparitions of the Amazons of hell, outdated flakes of, "blurring between London and Paris", where the strings of the night are unraveling and the apparition of so many images that deeply renew Daho's writing, we emerge deeply moved and confudes from this fantastic odyssey.