Mlle Caro and Franck Garcia: Pain Disappears
Buzzin' Fly

Buzzin' Fly's premiere artist album, Pain Disappears, showcases Mlle Caro (Mademoiselle Caroline Laher) and her Perpignan-based collaborator Franck Garcia's deft command of multiple styles, including dance-pop, minimal house, New Wave, electro, disco, and even deeply felt balladry. The album starts on a high with the wistful dance pop tune “Always You” where the languorous vocals of Mlle Caro (Caroline Laher) and Franck Garcia wax nostalgic about never-ending amour accompanied by lightly skipping beats, descending guitar patterns, and the gentle uplift of tinkling keyboards. Mixing elements of disco, New Wave, and synth-pop, the darker “Apologies” sounds like something The Thompson Twins might have performed had they emerged in 2007 rather than the mid-80s, while the future club stomper “I Don't Want” provides a funky fusion of quirky dance pop fueled by electric guitars, cowbell, and bleepy synths. Two instrumentals show off the duo's clubbier side: already heard on the Buzzin' Fly Volume 4 mix disc, the funky, slightly Latin-flavoured strut of “Lost” has lost none of its appeal, while “No Name” offers a brief sampling of funky electro-swing. Ewan Pearson brings his Midas touch to “Always You” at album's end and, as he's done elsewhere, stretches the material out for a glorious eleven minutes, elevating the song into a club anthem without sacrificing the original's essence.

Without question, Pain Disappears demonstrates the duo's versatility, though certain songs do showcase the group's strengths more than others. Jagged guitar stabs and a plodding, bass-crawling groove push “Dead Souls” into indie-rock territory, for example, and, though the song is credible enough, it doesn't seem as natural a fit as the fragile “Hold Me” and melodramatic “Mon Ange” (the even more epic “No One” takes the style to its tragic extreme, and even drenches the song's somber piano and strings with sounds of rain and thunder). If there's another weakness, it's the album's overlong seventy-minute running time; “No Name” and “Reason to Stay” could be omitted and the album would be little the worse for wear. But such caveats are relatively minor and hardly alter one's impression of Pain Disappears as a captivating debut.

January 2008