Juillet, the sophomore full-length from the Parisian indie pop quintet En Attendant Ana, finds the band harnessing an innate talent for composing thoughtful and catchy songs that never wear out their welcome. The ten tracks that make up Juillet were recorded in a single week in rural France. The relatively short recording period is a testament to the group’s musical intuition and instrumental cohesion and may also be the reason why the songs on Juillet flow so effortlessly from one to the other.
En Attendant Ana waste no time with foreplay, delivering the appropriately titled “Down the Hill”, an all-in opener accentuated with a lovely, sustained trumpet played by the band’s multi-instrumentalist Camille Fréchou. Guitars take centerstage for the peppy “Do You Understand”, cutting through with a charming lead hook on top of a quickly strummed, slightly distorted chord progression. Singer Margaux Bouchadon’s beautiful vocals feature on every song and are at times reminiscent of the late Trish Keenan, especially on the spacey ballad “From My Bruise to an Island”.
The back to back tracks “Flesh or Blood” and “Enter My Body (Lilith)” find En Attendant Ana adapting a slightly more angular post-punk sound without abandoning their pop inclinations. Juillet’s excellent first single, “Words”, is oddly buried in the last third of the album but still packs a punch, distinguishing itself with uncharacteristically wild trumpet and synth solos halfway in. Things begin to wind down during the record’s tempered penultimate song, “When It Burns”, a track that includes a lyrical reprise of the album’s opener.
Juillet is concluded with the victorious “The Light That Slept Inside”. Here the group deftly weave their way through some quick changes before repeatedly returning to a groove anchored nicely by Bouchadon’s steady voice. “The Light That Slept Inside” is a poignant ender that manages to smartly pull all the compositional and instrumental elements that make the record great together for a fulfilling three-and-a-half-minute finale. En Attendant Ana’s Juillet is not only a defining moment for the quintet that has the band solidifying their sound and style, it’s also the first great indie pop record of the new year.