Romantic break-up, family restructuring, shared custody, new love, accomplishments on the periphery, migration through Western Europe, East Africa, the American West Coast, Quebec’s Côte-Nord, and Montreal. Cormier’s years of personal upheaval cannot be summed up by a headlong rush to the status quo. No way. LJC is a skillful, rigorous, responsible, consequential musician, and this album is an eloquent demonstration of just that. A curious artist, LJC lets electro, Ethio-jazz and hip hop flow through his vessels, flows pumped by a big heart. The abundance here also draws on Karkwa’s indie prog and the recent apprenticeships of their frontman. It’s perhaps less agreeable here, but just enough to maintain his status as a pop star acquired through reality TV and his solo albums. The impact of keyboard player and composer François Lafontaine is considerable here. The tension between Lafontaine and the singer is at the heart of the Karkwa-esque dialectic; fans of the 2000s won’t be disappointed by the resumption of this collaboration.
It needs to be said, Cormier is a deeply convivial guy, widely loved, but consensual generosity always ends up reaching its limits in original artistic creation. This five-year break without an album was also an opportunity to reflect on this point: to establish oneself in the long term, to make one’s mark on the arts, one must choose between goat and cabbage. This album is not the result of radical choices, for all that, but its creator gets more involved, makes bolder formal choices, and… might not be unanimously applauded by the general public, at least in the short term. The lyrics are charged with humanism and progressivism, the subjects addressed are widely relevant (racism, religious dogmatism, digital egocentrism, social-media abuse, etc.), and the author’s poetic progress is real, although the musical score continues to prevail over the chosen words. In short, this is a creative pop worthy of Louis-Jean Cormier, the most powerful vector of its kind in the French part of the continent.