Philippe B hadn’t released an album since La grande nuit vidéo in 2017. It’s a long time, six years, but “Everything has changed, everything is the same”, sings the gifted singer-songwriter in the title track of his sixth album in 18 years. And nothing could be truer since we find intact his unique talent for capturing life in its tiniest movements, and for the melodies in minor mode which gently wring the heart.
If there is a songwriter who is a worthy descendant of the Félix Leclerc line, it is Philippe B. Je t’attends, who opens the album, is moreover a barely disguised reference to the poet of Île d’Orléans — the guitar chords that roll like waves, the evocative phrases: “In sad comfort/Of the lark that sleeps/And dreams of a country.” Souterrain brings us back to Richard Desjardins—a mine in Abitibi, “I understood when I was young/Life isn’t an open bar, you have to work”—there’s Sylvain Lelièvre in the languor of Marianne s’ bored.
Above all, there is such a chiseled and perfect writing, where no sentence is useless or sloppy, and in which one does not feel the effort, only a perfect mastery of the language. Philippe B is an alchemist poet of the right word, and he recounts here with great restraint — but not without emotion — the cycles of existence, the changes we expect or not, the beauty and anxiety of this great adventure. what life is, which he observes with lucidity and tenderness.
From arrangements to production, the singer-songwriter has been in charge of all aspects of this stripped-down album, in which he also plays the majority of the instruments – guitars, piano, percussion, bass -, does the sampling … There are of course people to support him, José Major on drums and Philippe Brault on bass, but especially Guido Del Fabbro on violin, Jocelyn Roy on flute, Sheila Hannigan on cello and Annick Beauvais on oboe, who subtly dress the songs with small delicate touches, and imprint a sweet melancholy on the whole.
Nouvelle administration is an album that you savor while taking your time, savoring each phrase, taming each melody, telling yourself that the song from here, in the hands of Philippe B, is admirably inspired by tradition for better project it forward.