REVIEW Parisian band Issac Delusion makes catchy music with friendly beats

Isaac Delusion is a band of present day troubadours from Paris that play ultra-chill, indie electro-pop subtly infused into the woodland haunt of the folk song. “You could say it’s a mix between Loic’s folk-rock influences and my hip-hop and electronic influences,” says Jules Pacotte, who plays “the machines.” He and Loic Fleury (singer, guitarist) started off as a duo before recruiting Nicolas Bourrigan on bass and Bastien Dodard on keyboard and guitar. Brought in for a nationwide tour, courtesy of Alliance Francaise, the Bangalore stop landed them at Opus for an evening attended largely by French students and expats.

On ‘Transistors,’ a warm and spacey organ with diving pitch modulations and the chopped-up vocal loops of a soft-voiced woman continue over a laid-back drumbeat. The overwhelming quality is that of a harmony between the personal and the impersonal, where intimate impressions are molded into dance beats and pop refrains. “Just like our minds keep throwing signals, our heads like transistors, keep on receiving, yeah.”

Isaac Delusion is the latest in a new wave of French bands that prefer to write their lyrics in English. Cultural protection laws in France limit non-French content so locals find themselves competing for airtime with established International acts. Despite this, the Internet generation has gradually globalized its music to reach out to the expanding English-speaking realm. The band just completed a tour of Europe and America, which was received well. “We’ve come to India hoping to see a lot of colors and to experience spirituality,” says Fleury in his thick accent, none of which makes it through to his songs.

The draw between styles likens their music to hybrid acts such as MGMT and The Beta Band. However, what clearly gives them their uniqueness is Fleury’s impeccable, high register singing voice, influenced by Jeff Buckley and Patrick Watson. A synth loop runs a minor key on ‘Supernova.’ The moodiness seeps into the vocals, causing strains akin to the style of Thom Yorke, though with the inclusion of a funky bass line over an even beat, the song treads further than Radiohead would in balancing gloom with dance. “You look at me with your electric eyes and I see a supernova in the sky.”

‘Land of Gold,’ is a more intrepid piece exploring stronger images over soulful folk blues with echoing guitars and a snappy bass. “Begging for a drop of water when I saw this strange man in his fancy shoes… he’ll save you from a painful debt until you have to pay the bill… never shake the devil's hand.” Their Midnight Sun and Early Morning E.P.s were released under the French label Cracki Records. A lot of the songs played at Opus were unreleased tracks from an upcoming album. The catchy tunes and friendly beats caught the crowd’s adoration. “In France everyone is dancing,” says Pacotte, when asked about the dining audience. When a strong chorus cheered for ‘one more/encore’ the band conceded to play the extra song, an up-tempo afro-beat piece that left the rest of the night with anticipation.

KARTHIK VARMA

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