Julie Doiron - Desormais / Heart & Crime 2LPLabel: Jagjaguwar Records
Julie Doiron's stunning album Desormais, originally released via Jagjaguwar in 2001, marked a departure from the Canadian artist's grunge pop releases in the 1990s. Like its title might suggest, the intimate record is sung almost entirely in French. Across Desormais' ten tracks, Doiron builds a disarming and warm atmosphere - through minimally-composed fingerpicking, Doiron's soft voice steers a wounded sound. Even for the English-speaking listener, the cohesion of the LP's subdued, immersive atmosphere looms. Desormaisclearly communicates a close, unflinching look at self-doubt submerged in melancholy.
Heart and Crime, released less than a year later in 2002, traverses much of the same territory. Written within the same time as Desormais, Heart and Crime is a companion to its predecessor, similarly vulnerable and scarce compositionally, save for flickers of brass or a piano line flitting in or out. Again, its weight comes from its somber simplicity, in Doiron's w istful voice and lyricism.
Desormais and Heart and Crime serve as visceral time capsules for Doiron's own personal history. It's fitting, then that the records are also distinct placeholders within the Jagjaguwar canon. Desormais and Heart and Crime came at a time just as the label began to widen its scope. Doiron's work was amongst the first in a new era of Jagjaguwar artists that expanded the label's roster and aesthetic, ushering in new and diverse definitions of Jagjaguwar's early dedication to emotional dissonance.