Agnès Gayraud, otherwise known as La Féline, is a brilliant, intelligent maker of pop music.
She wrote her PhD on Theodor Adorno, who dismissed pop as a stultifying collection of “standards”, but Gayraud has argued that it deserves the sort of careful listening usually reserved for classical music. Nonetheless she always has “her friend Adorno in the back of her head.” And for her, the fun of pop is in messing with its traditions.
La Féline is an important part of a scene that’s gathering momentum in France, helped by the tireless work of multi-purpose collective La Souterraine. Where for many years it was thought tacky to sing in French, there’s now an excitement and pride around these bands writing in their first language and producing inventive pop music that doesn’t pander. La Féline is one of those artists at the forefront of this movement.
Latest single Séparés opens with sparse minor chords and Gayraud’s floating voice before the drums start propelling her towards the chorus, picking up synths and a smart clipped vocal sample along the way. The flute that haunts the second verse is typical of the unusual arrangements on "Triomphe", her second solo album. Watch the video for Séparés here – and listen attentively.