With her rich and accurate voice, her embodied presence and her musical intelligence, Ariel Engle is a gem of the Montreal indie pop scene who has been lending her voice and creativity to a host of projects for over 15 years. Member of the Toronto collective Broken Social Scene and collaborator of Patrick Watson (among others), La Force is the solo incarnation of the singer-songwriter, whose first album was shortlisted for the Polaris Prize in 2019 .

So here is The Force again with XO Skeleton, which she co-directed with Plants and Animals Warren Spicer. Surrounded by brilliant collaborators, including bassist Michka Stein (Patrick Watson, TEKE:: TEKE) Broken Social Scene saxophonist David French, drummer Liam O’Neill (Suuns) and Christophe Larouche on keyboards (Jimmy Hunt, Chocolat), La Force obviously delivers a well-textured album, but full of interstices to make it breathe.

Between folk, touches of R

With this hypnotizing voice capable of all nuances, enveloping and truly moving, La Force lives up to its name. If there is an airy side to the whole, nothing is cutesy or watered down. On the contrary, we are dealing with a feverish and powerful universe, which uplifts and comforts, but also which surprises and which stirs up a little. That’s a lot for a single album, and that’s the strength of La Force.