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Album of the Month : July 2004


MONDIALITO (J) : " Avant la pluie" ( Lazur-record)





1. Lavande



2. L'azur



3. Avant la pluie



4. Des mots perdus



5. Sous le soleil d'été



6. Tu as disparu



7. Notre échec

















I have never been in touch with anybody in Japan previously, so it was really an unexpected and pleasant surprise to find a package coming from Tokyo in my letter-box. How these far-away people got to hear of my radio-show was first a mystery to me. But it was soon cleared up when, reading the accompanying letter, I found that the nice guys of Danish band Labrador* were kindly spreading the word on Rockomondo to locals while touring Japan. A great and successful idea, as this CD by Mondialito demonstrates.


Consisting of Junko Nishimura who pens the words and sings, and her companion Toshiya Fueoka who writes the music and plays all the instruments, Mondialito is quite a classic girl/ boy duet. One thing differentiates them from other similar bands though : their thoroughful knowledge of contemporary French culture . Seen from France, a visit to the band's homepage is simultaneously flattering and confusing. Actually, these folks know more about the music and films from my own country than I do myself ! Therefore, it's no big surprise that their whole album is written and sung in French. A hazardous exercise if there's one : writing good sounding lyrics in Serge Gainsbourg's language is already a difficult task for his fellow countrymen. In the past, we've had a few examples of people from abroad taking up the same challenge and sounding more ridiculous than classy to French ears. Fortunately, Mondialito avoid that trap. Although deliciously slanted, Junko Nishimura's lyrics benefit from her beguiling feathery croon and flawless diction. Her hushed, unaffected voice is a pure delight throughout the album. Toshiya Fueoka gives it a bevy of pristine melodies, and the most perfect soundscape you could dream of : an ultra-light cocktail of click n' cut electronics and acoustic instruments, sometimes enhanced with cellos and violins. Mixing equal parts of data-pop, chanson française and bossa-nova through the very Japanese restraint of the arrangements, this luscious airy-pop distills a sweet and touching melancholy that leaves a long-lasting imprint in the heart of the listener. More than often, it brings to mind the wonderful songs of Norway's Ephemera ( of whom Mondialito are self-confessed fans ) in an even more fragile and understated version. Whether it's on the soft electronics of the opener Lavande, on the delicate acoustic architectures of L'Azur and Sous Le Soleil d' Ete, on the gently piano-driven title-track or any other song on this too short ( 28 minutes) mini-album, the soothing virtues of Mondialito's music are undeniable, making you feel warm, secure and peaceful like if you were floating in amniotic fluid.


In these troubled times, half-an-hour of sheer escapism is a rare and precious thing indeed. It fully justifies to spend some time trying to get hold of a copy of " Avant la pluie", the most beautiful gift Japan gave to the world since Jiro' Taniguchi's comic " The walking man".




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* Check Labrador's own hit-packed album " Instamatic Lovelife" on