The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tim McNa­mara

Still Wa­ters Break­bot Be­cause/Warner

Break­bot’s 2012 de­but al­bum By Your Side show­cased a mel­low yet bumpy take on nud­isco and sunny French elec­tron­ica, as Thibaut Ber­land in­dulged his love of 1970s and 80s funk and synth-pop on sin­gles Baby I’m Yours and Fan­tasy. On the fol­low-up, Ber­land has brought spo­radic By Your Side vo­cal­ist Ir­fane into the fold as a full-fledged mem­ber, and as a duo Break­bot is bet­ter. There’s disco-in­spired basslines aplenty on Still Wa­ters, yet there’s a di­ver­sity in tempo and flow that makes it a more com­plex out­ing than its pre­de­ces­sor.

“This time we re­ally got our hands dirty”, Ber­land pro­fesses. From Get Lost, the New Zealand-in­spired first sin­gle that parks one leg in the dig­i­tal and the other in the ana­log camp, with its moog and other synth flour­ishes, to the low-slung R & B crunch of 2Good4Me, Break­bot switches from up­beat es­capism to soul­ful love songs with ease.

The ap­peal of Ir­fane’s voice grows with each lis­ten and its im­pact in­creases when it is paired with that of Bri­tish vo­cal­ist Yas­min on the har­mony-rich, emo­tive Ar­rested.

Else­where, Yas­min shines on the play­ful, up­beat My Toy amid pierc­ing synths and rolling bass. Sweet­est Ro­mance is the undis­puted star of Still Wa­ters. A dirty bassline pos­i­tively drip­ping in funk is paired with string stabs and Ir­fane’s yearn­ing for “mu­sic and dance” to form an in­fec­tious groove. There are a few tracks — Man With­out Shadow and the eerie synth-led Turn­ing Around, fea­tur­ing Ir­fane’s part­ner Sarah Ydoux — where the bound­aries be­tween cred­i­ble French elec­tron­ica and cheese are blurred. They’re out­num­bered, how­ever, by the qual­ity of­fer­ings, such as the pi­ano bal­lad In Re­turn, which is rem­i­nis­cent of the best love songs of By Your Side.

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