William Deslauriers

Un Pied à Terre

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Well, nobody would expect a finalist of a musical reality show to sound avant-garde. But though this kind of acoustic folk is completely unoriginal, it can also be botched -- yet, thankfully, isn't. The songs are midtempo affairs, led by William Deslauriers' vocals and guitar, with unobtrusive rhythm work and minor arrangements. The moods are nothing extreme either, fluctuating between laid-back, romantic, and sweetly wistful, and the lyrics are, of course, about love. But for what it is, it works. Some songs sound tight and natural enough to recall Sting or Eric Clapton (or both of them together), one or two have some rock & roll or reggae thrown in, and there are also hints of blues, which, though only coming to the forefront in "Repas Trois Entrées," add a much welcome dose of groove to the music. Besides, the songwriting is good -- Deslauriers can make those three proverbial chords express emotion, like good pop should. It may be an unplanned consequence or his (or his producers') attempt to play it safe, but in any case, the record is neither too cheesy (though it's definitely sappy) nor stuck in the aimless drone mode like so much folk out there. Fans of Damien Rice or Germany's Philipp Poisel (another name to check out) would maybe wish that Un Pied à Terre were more dramatic, while for David Gray lovers, it may seem too pop-centered and not intimate enough; but in fact, all of them would benefit from checking it out.

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