Review: Eric Chenaux – Slowly Paradise

These songs are honey. A sweet, continuous oozing across an uneven surface. All shapes are vague, witnessed through the soft focus of relaxation and summer lethargy, bulging asymmetrically as they outwardly pool. The guitar chords are dipped in dissonances that complicate their sentiment – streaks of hope across melancholy, drops of doubt amidst love – as improvisation drags at the edges, flailing like flags playing upon the breeze, straining at the tether as they ripple across frets and keys. Each of these songs is like one of those stories that becomes lost in its own retelling – describing a chance encounter with a person only to become caught in a poetic depiction of her blue silk scarf, woozy and adoring, slurring with the intensity of the memory. During the second half of “There’s Our Love”, the song disappears down one of these crevices. Melody descends out into improvisation, leaving just a purple slosh of wah pedals, loose strums and electronics that skirt the surface like glints of sunlight. Miraculously, the song reclaims shape in the closing stages, shepherded back to form as Chenaux’s voice skips over consonant and floats upon vowel: “There are dreams we call The Breezes…”

This voice is perhaps the funnel for this unfurling of thought, where the splay of feeling is consolidated into phrases. His tone is soft, verging on a whisper, as though straddling the boundary between inner thoughts and outward articulation. Sometimes it falls silent, allowing stuttering stylophones or trembling guitars to carry the monologue forth, alternating between the poetry of language and that which spirals away from what the voice can express. I imagine Chenaux to be daydreaming in these moments, as these instrument solos – sometimes chiming like bells, sometimes melting like wax – paint pictures in the air, trying to enact the images that stream through the mind, vivid and beautiful, yet also fluid and unexplainable.