Chiac Disco by Lisa LeBlanc
18 Mar 2022
As we bound in to Spring after the longest, COVID riddled Winter we have ever known what better way to lighten the mood than a dose of 1970's inspired funky pop. Canada's Lisa LeBlanc has this week released her fifth studio album with cover art that makes some colourful suggestions of what the record is all about. But is it all about power poses, 70's fashion and orange swirls? I sure hope so.
The bouncing bass line on opening track Pourquoi Faire Aujourd'hui is so quick to get you in to the groove it almost anticipates you pressing the play button. The strings plugin gives a subtle Eastern flavour but the main vibe is funky pop that doesn't take itself too seriously. LeBlanc's vocals are clear and positioned well in the mix. The production team have definitely done a good job of ensuring the listener is as engaged by the retro beats as they are by LeBlanc's voice. There is no competition between the two and both are the main act.
Chiac Disco mainly leans towards the jazz funk and disco influence heard in the opening number. Gossip and Le Menu Acadian are particularly notable in their success at injecting that authentic groove in to the the rhythm section. Other parts of the album such as Veux-Tu Rentrer Dans Ma Bubble? employ a more electrified back beat, sharp horn accents and frequent breaks to thoroughly cement themselves in amongst disco of the same era. Although LeBlanc's lyrics can at times only be half serious none of the retro elements sound parodied or short of the mark. The approach has clearly been an educated one and true to it's influences.
La poudre Aux Yeux, that sits right at the halfway point shows a different side to Chiac Disco but without leaving that same decade. One of the few tracks where the guitar plays a main part picking away beneath a grandiose, dramatic wave of strings that sets a melody not far off early Nancy Sinatra.
The only miss on the record could possibly be the closing track Me Semble Que C'est Facile. This could make for a pleasant enough closer if it wasn't for the shameless and bold rehashing of Jimmy Page's guitar on Stairway To Heaven. Unfortunately this is a little too close for comfort and detracts from the other elements of the song that probably deserve more attention from the listener. A disappointing end.
Overall Lisa LeBlanc has done a fine job of transporting us back to a time past and educating us on some of the popular genres of that era. The production and choices of instrumentation are authentic and well executed. There should really be no discussion on the strength and flexibility of LeBlanc's fantastic voice but the question is whether she is suited to this style. The answer, thankfully, is an unequivocal yes. If she is enjoying herself as much as I did listening, then hopefully we will get more along these lines from Lisa LeBlanc in the future. Take a listen yourself and let me know what you think.