In the promotion of Corridor's Junior, emphasis is placed on the band being Sub Pop's first francophone signing. On listening, it becomes immediately clear why the label broke with tradition. Opener 'Topographe', angular and aptly-named, jangles a melody you might find in a Panda Bear piece; one which bobs like the roll of a landscape. Sub Pop needn't have worried so much. Corridor translate themselves through their immediacy, fluent in the lingua franca of song.
Fellow Québécois Godspeed You! Black Emperor embody this power too. Despite bearing almost no comparison as bands, Godspeed's worldwide success could foreshadow Corridor's. Completely eschewing lyrics allowed Godspeed's thesis to be political, but not polemical. Fewer understood words afforded fewer opportunities for misunderstanding. Unilingual anglophones (a stereotype with innumerable real-world bases) may, as with Godspeed, focus on and infer meaning from Junior's formal qualities.
Good thing Junior is so pretty, then. Bright production and vocal harmonies sing like yawns meeting morning. With energy and jubilance Junior bounces uphill. But it's never chirpy or smug; still sadness suffuses every strum, and every rattling drum. It's a difficult sadness to place, stemming perhaps from songs' staticity as they loop to their beginnings to end; or the echoey, 'kid-lost-in-a-supermarket' production applied to their vocals.
Whatever the case, Junior is more complicated than it might at first seem. In action straightforward, after the fact it defies analysis. This state of ineffability grants the album staying power, and helps Corridor raise their heads above a crop of similar artists.
Junior, released on the 18th of October, will be available to purchase and stream here.
Words by Andrew O’Keefe