Few bands will have gone through the emotional trauma that besieged French duo Her during the making of their debut album. As work came to a close on the record, it was announced that Simon Carpentier, who made up half the duo, had passed away following an ongoing illness. “I carry his legacy within me and it is my wish, as well as the wish of the entire Her team, to continue to bring our music along as far as possible. My deepest and most profound wish is to make him proud and to follow through with this dream we’ve shared for 10 years now,” Victor Solf said of his bandmate in August 2017.
It is a frankly tragic story. When Her piqued our interest back in 2016 with initial collection ‘Her Tape #1’, it seemed like the world was at their feet. If anything, this album proves that they were able to overcome even the saddest of obstacles and make a triumph out of it. From the off, the emotional weight hits you like a tonne of bricks: “I think I think we could do anything/Our wings are broke, but we’ll keep on gliding”, the pair croon on ‘We Choose’. This record is anything but a means to an end: the end result is a soaring triumph, one everyone involved can be mighty proud of.
The band haven’t abandoned the vision for what they wanted to achieve on the album, but it’s sometimes hard to nail exactly what that is. ‘Blossom Roses’, for one, starts off sounding like a lost deep-cut from the best ’70s singer-songwriters you’ve never heard, before morphing into a icy, ‘Kid A’-inflected chorus. More eclectic stylings dominate on ‘Wanna Be You’, which sounds like every Hall & Oates song rolled into one glorious jaunt, while ‘5 Minutes’ picks up on the funk-pop vibes that Jungle started on in 2014. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but does make for a varied and uneven listen in places.
For the most part, this acts as not just a fitting tribute – but a bold statement from a project that has much more to give to the world. In the face of tragedy, Her’s commitment to creativity is more than just commendable – it’s actually rather enjoyable.