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Hélène Renaut 

Wednesday, Jul 15 2009

Hélène Renaut's simple tenderness evokes fellow Frenchwoman Françoise Hardy; her sparse approach, Marissa Nadler. Complex acoustic guitar parts are trimmed with playful glockenspiel, trombone, and soft percussion. But what's most charming about the Brittany-born, San Francisco–based singer-songwriter is how she dresses up adult motifs in kids' attire. "Bumblebee" finds Renaut grappling with crushing isolation through a blushingly cute chit-chat with a bee. The aching restlessness of "The Deer Convention" is hidden underneath her childlike wonder of golden light. Rather than showing the singer circumventing grown-up crises, these songs offer the realization that adolescence can be damn fun, especially set against folk music that simultaneously makes you blush and squirm.

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Ryan Foley


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