Album number four from the former Christchurch chanteuse Flip Grater is titled after the Parisian suburb it was recorded in, and partially funded by crowd sourcing. Grater’s experiences and adventures in both the City of Light and at home colour this record, with her French backing musicians and production team creating a sound much more expansive than her 2010 album ‘While I’m Awake I’m At War’.
While ‘Pigalle’ has a rockier sensibility (especially in the dark and carnival-esque My Only Doll), the stars of the album are her voice and acoustic guitar – deceptively delicate features that illuminate her personality and stories. Starting with the personal declarations and confessions of The Quit, ‘Pigalle’ travels through Grater’s soul.
The syncopated rhythms of Exit Sign are possibly the apex – an evocative series of reminiscences of her earlier life in Christchurch, and the experiences of her family. To The Devil is interesting, a co-write with former Goldenhorse guitarist Geoff Maddock, it’s a moody duet with Nicholas Ker that reminds me of Nick Cave’s ‘Murder Ballads’ album. I love ‘Pigalle’ – it’s an album of smart, beautiful alt-pop, with a delicate French twist. Deliberately stepping out of her comfort zone, Grater has emerged with an album that sounds like second nature.