Reviews - Australia
Album of the week
The Advertiser – Tasmania
PUNK-ROCK’S COOL THING
There’s something so intrinsically cool about women fronting punk-rock-pop bands.
Think Blondie’s Deborah Harry, Siouxsie Sioux in front of her Banshees, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Geelong’s own Magic Dirt and its guitarist and vocalist Adalita Srsen.
Far from being ey-candy or a marketing-ploy afterthought, those aforementioned women drive their bands.
French four-piece punk-rockers Mademoiselle K takes its name from frontwoman Katerine Gierak. The vocalist has been working towards her own band since she was a child and throws herself into the music.
Gierak’s French vocals and the band’s punk-rocking sound prove to be a powerful mix on Madmoiselle K’s sophomore album Jamais La Paix. Feedback, fuzz, power chords open the album. Le Vent La Fureur pays homage to Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore’s guitar. Track two, A.S.D., pairs Beach Boy’s-like harmonies with anthemic power chords, while En Smoking’s atmospheric slide-guitar effect is a space cowboy mix of Brian Eno and Ry Cooder. The combination of French vocals, creative and expert musicianship interwoven with punk-rock gives Mademoiselle K that certain je ne sais quoi.
Reverb Magazine August 2009
Combine equal parts indie-rock and Nouvelle Chanson, and Mademoiselle K is the utterly delirious result. Jamais La Paix (“Never Peace”) is the second album by French singer/guitarist Katerine Gierak, and it features a gritty, sometimes explosive edge, tempered by restless lyricism. Katerine’s vocals (all in French) follow this dualism, fluctuating between gentle and fierce almost instantaneously. The coarse, anthemic title track sets the tone for others like the almost-punk ‘Tea Time’. The album is at its most French in songs such as ‘A.S.D.’ and ‘Grave’, where all La Roux’s little eccentricities become apparent. Jamais La Paix is raw indie-rock with a European twist – a must-listen. For Fans of : Camille, Radiohead – Hugh Millgan 4/5
Rave Magazine August 4, 2009 Issue 902.
Gierak delivers an album of rock-infused chanson, swapping the accordions for some thrashy guitars but otherwise sticking to the same chanson nouveau formula made popular in Australia by artists such as Mélanie Pain and Françoiz Breut... There are, in fact, plenty of peaceful moments on Jamais La Paix, such as Alors Je Dessine (So I Draw, for non- Francophones). Gierak has a lovely sense of dynamics, so even the album’s most, erm, ballsy rock numbers (such as the title track) are tempered with softer moments. - 3 stars CHAD PARKHILL
Beat Magazine 5 August
Jamais La Paix
French music is enjoying an audience in Australia that no one could have expected five years ago. Increasing airplay, fetishistic levels of attention from broadsheets and bloggers and, of course, high quality music, has seen interest in the music of our Gallic friends rise exponentially over the past few years. This interest can arguably be traced back to one song (So Frenchy So Chic 2006, Disc 1, track 5 - Camille’s Ta Douleur). And now, the French breakout story of 2009 is Mademoiselle K.
After first receiving attention (at least at home) with their debut LP 2006’s Ca Me Vexe (‘It Vexes Me’) Mademoiselle K are back. Jamais La Paix (‘Never In Peace’) sees them armed with a more focused and accessible bunch of tracks, despite the often deal-breaking language barrier. The four-piece are still effectively a platform for lead singer, and primary songwriter, Katerine ‘Mademoiselle K’ Gierak. Think Karen O meets early ‘80s Chrissy Hynde, complete with leather and the occasional shriek.
Le Vent La Fureur (‘The Wind The Fury’) kick-starts the album, placing it instantly in overdrive. It’s also the perfect example of Mademoiselle K at their peak. More than the sum of its parts, it’s an explosive and immediate track. Title track Jamais La Paix wears its angsty punk-rock influences prominently, with Gierak screaming “Il pleut, c’est/c’est dieu qui pisse, c’est dieu” (“it is raining, it is/it’s God who pisses, it’s God.”)
However Jamais La Paix is not a one trick affair, Maman XY (‘Mum XY’) is a tender and affecting track, not dissimilar to early Yeah Yeah Yeahs and lead single Grave (‘Serious’) is proudly radio-ready with its infectious and bass driven beat. Enjoliveur (‘Hubcap’) is the catchiest track ever penned about one of the more boring automotive parts out there. Just don’t ask me what it’s really about; basic French can only get me so far... a surprisingly boisterous and compelling listen. - Matt Bendall
Sydney Morning Herald
Sometimes Mademoiselle K’s singer/songwriter/presence Katerine Gierak plays around with sound layers the way countrywoman Emilie Simon does and at other times she even picks at an emotional scab or two. But at heart she’s got more spitting-out-vocals aggression and upfront guitars to set free than sonic tricks or personal revelation. Think of it as more like a French spin on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs crossed with a bit of the Brooklyn art-and-punk scene. God knows what she’s saying, though I did hear supermarket mentioned if that’s any help, but the attitude is easily discerned and in several songs, such as Pas Des Carres, the songwriting quality matches the ‘tood.
Forte - Album Review
I think it’s pretty fair to say things just sound better in French and there is nothing sexier than a breathy, husky voice put to some awesome hooks and cool punky beats. If you too subscribe to this theory of French = sexy well Mademoiselle K’s latest record Jamais La Paix (Never in Peace) is a must have for your collection.
Lead vocalist Katerine Gierak has been described as the French incarnation of Chrissie Hynde and it’s clear to see why with her at times blasé disinterest juxtaposed against her at times fierce convictions and moments of almost scary aggression. It is this intriguing contrast of light and dark that makes Jamais La Paix such an intense pleasure to listen to.
With tracks such as ‘Grave’ (Serious) and ‘Alors je Dessine’ (So I Draw) the exceptional instrumental talents of the French outfit are more than evident as are some cool pop elements that make these tracks all the more commercially digestible – without being too commercial or too cliché . Title track ‘Jamais La Paix’ is probably the best indication of Katerine’s vocal talent and clearly fascinating character – I’ve got no idea what she is singing about but judging by her tone I am not going to disagree with her!
Jamais La Paix is like the ultimate mood music for passionate punk rockers who require some fiery tunes to set the scene without resorting to Marvin Gaye or Snow Patrol for a lovemakin’ soundtrack! And well if you are lacking in the passion departments this album is guaranteed to put you in the mood for some faire l'amour avec with perhaps a fierce punk edge ;)
Time Out, June 29 Issue 1435
Mademoiselle K, Jamais La Paix
It’s a big call, but Katerine Gierak, frontwoman of French rockers Mademoiselle K, could just be the Karen O of France. Firstly, they look kind of similar – the 25-year-old Parisian has the same hairstyle and killer eye for fashion as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs vocalist. Secondly, they’re both charismatic performers with vocal deliveries that range from quiet and pensive to wild and sexy to angry and passionate.
Gierak is a diverse songwriter and her band’s music is hard to pigeonhole. While big, loud, chaotic punk rock is their speciality, they’re prone to throwing in danceable grooves or some dark, moody ambience just to keep things interesting. Unless you speak French, you won’t have a clue what any of the songs are about, and we all know those dodgy translation websites aren’t much help. But if any of these tracks lose their intensity because of the language barrier, then they must have been pretty damn intense to begin with.
Stand-out tracks on Jamais La Paix, the group’s second album include the melodic ‘A.S.D’, the powerful yet achingly fragile ‘Maman XY’, the indie disco of ‘Grave and Enjoliveur’ , the psychedelic post-rock of ‘En-Smoking’ and the drawn-out rock balladry of closing track ‘Espace’.
At first, the French vocals do hinder the memorability of these tracks. You get the sense they’d be catchier in English. It’s hard to get lyrics stuck in your head when you don’t have a clue what they are, and the vocals just sound like another instrument. But don’t let that put you off: give it time, and this record will grow on you like the mould on your housemate’s week old sandwich.
3 ½ stars – Daniel Wynne
Drum Perth 9 July Issue 144
Single Review by Jaymes Brown
The media release for this single is headlined ‘France’s Coolest Rock Band’. A gutsy call by the band’s publicist. Like most music journalists in this country, I feel that headlines like this are just begging me to write something acerbic, to prick their pomposity and cut them thoroughly down to size. Sadly, ten seconds into the single I realise they’re right. They are France’s coolest rock band. Journalism fail.
Drum Media (Syd) July 7 issue 965
Singles by Ross Clelland
Mademoiselle K, Grave
Don’t laugh, this is serious. As in Grave means ‘serious’ in, er, foreign. But seriously folks (I’ll stop now...), Mme K is a French rock band pretty obviously taking cues from The Pretenders circa 1982. Not a bad thing, with the nation applauding the return of sprayed-on leather pants and the skinny tie as shirt. With production by a former Green Day cohort this has an international outlook, with the eponymous Katerine Gierak’s snarling Gallic purr having the desired effect even before you hear the translation. Tu descends, indeed.