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"SXSW 2011 Recap Day 3: Toro Y Moi, Revolver, Still Corners"

Mar 21, 2011 By Laura Studarus
Approaching the witching hour, we scurried over to Easy Tiger patio for a musical nightcap: Revolver. Unwittingly it seems we had saved the best for last. The criminally underrated French trio tore through an all-too-brief set that was equal parts Beatles, Buddy Holly, and 1920s club music. Their first ever SXSW appearance was the columniation of two solid years of touring. Their experience, from the cellist’s dance breaks to the guitarist’s attempt Johnny Hallyday’s stage presence, showed. The packed patio happily clapped and sang along particularly to wonderfully catchy song, “Balulalow.”

Again, with italics added: criminally underrated.

Unable to top that, and with my hotel a literal stone’s throw away, I retired for the evening. Note to hotel staff: I appreciate your charm, but please please please, do not wish me a good morning when I’ve still yet to say goodnight.

- Under The Radar

"Portland's Mercury 'Revolver Guns for America'"

By Mark Lore. March 03 2011
IT'S UNCANNY how much musical gold Revolver has sifted from American soil in such little time—not only the obvious Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan influences, but further back to the barbershop quartet stylings inspired by the Mills Brothers. More interesting is the fact that vocalist/guitarist Christophe Musset doesn't know what a barbershop quartet even is.

The Parisian trio's infatuation with American music is countered by two of the members' classical backgrounds. It's most evident on their 2009 LP Music for a While, named after a composition by one of their lesser-known influences, English baroque composer Henry Purcell. There's a stateliness to the album, which bursts at the seams with hooks and those distinct harmonies. The members sing in English, less a conscious decision than simply part of their musical education.

"It came naturally," Musset explains from his apartment in Paris. "We learned how to speak English by listening to Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Elliott Smith." Musset is the most rock and roll of the three. Members Ambroise Willaume and Jérémie Arcache were classically trained from age six; the latter didn't discover pop music—or any other type of music for that matter—until his late teens.

Revolver (named, not surprisingly, after the Beatles album) began its crash course in American Pop 101 just over three years ago in a small apartment where paper-thin walls limited them to only acoustic instruments and their three voices. They released Pop de Chambre in 2008, a record whose songs leaned toward the folkier side. Their latest EP, Parallel Lives, is a return to those spare recordings where harmonies and strings are the centerpiece. "It was good to come back and play live songs acoustically," says Musset. "It fits these songs better."

The release coincides with the band's first-ever tour of the States (their only previous domestic performances were a couple of radio sessions). And with that, America appears ready to embrace these young, fresh fellows from France. For Musset, the thought of playing the songs he wrote in that small Paris apartment at SXSW and in Portland, the city he associates with his hero Elliott Smith, hasn't really sunk in quite yet. "From my point of view it's very exciting to be in the States just to play our songs," he says, although I have a feeling he'll get used to it.
- The Portland Mercury

"TIME OUT 'Parisian pop acts invade Chicago, by coincidence'"

By Brent DiCrescenzo March 2, 2011

Parisian pop acts invade Chicago, by coincidence. Tahiti 80 looks to steal some of the spotlight back from Phoenix, while relative newcomers Revolver focus on acoustics and harmonies with lovely results.
By mere coincidence, as Charles de Gaulle Airport celebrates its 37th birthday, a small crop of Paris’s best bands invades Chicago this week.

The longest in the tooth, Tahiti 80, has been quietly, fashionably kicking around for nearly two decades—longer than its overshadowing peers, Air and Phoenix. Perhaps forever damned by the title of its sophomore album, Wallpaper for the Soul, the pop combo can be lazily pigeonholed as music for chic resort hotels, but closer attention reveals nifty studio trickery and effortless melodic chops.

The Past, the Present and the Possible offers the same exquisitely crafted lounge furniture, but scuffs up the fabric a good deal. The band contrasts Xavier Boyer’s smooth, boyish voice with fuzzier synth, deeper bass rumbles and occasional blasts of Nintendo funk.

Openers Chateau Marmont oddly failed to make an appearance in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere. Right in her wheelhouse, the Parisians take the retro-futuristic sounds of Daft Punk into a dreamier realm. You might mistake Marmont for the robotic duo, or even Justice, Sebastien Tellier, et al. But you’d never think it’s German.

Revolver eschews technology altogether, crafting precise harmonies over lovely acoustic compositions. You can smell the classical training. It’s folky, but refreshingly scrubbed of any trace of Americana. We can do twang ourselves, sure, but nobody at Old Town gets this sexy.
- Time Out Chicago

"KEXP's The Morning Show - Acoustic session"

By Jim Beckmann | Published: May 27, 2011
As our Morning Show host John Richards says in his introduction, the last time we saw Revolver, we were in a hotel lobby in New York. That was during CMJ last year as KEXP broadcast from the Ace Hotel NYC. It had been the first time the young French band had performed in the U.S., and even though their wonderful Baroque pop debut, Music for a While, was a favorite on KEXP, none of us were prepared for just how stunning their live performance would be. More recently, following the release of their acoustic Parallel Lives EP, the classically trained trio embarked on their first U.S. tour and stopped by the KEXP studio for another fantastic set. Check out the videos of the session here:

- KEXP Seattle

"Revolver's "Music for a While" album review"

Thursday, February 17, 2011; 9:16 AM
Kindred spirits: Elliott Smith, Kings of Convenience

Show: Thursday at the Red Palace. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. 202-399-3201. . $8 in advance; $10 at the door.

Like a package of petit fours, Revolver's music is a refined treat imported from France. But unlike those indulgences, it's hard to consume too much of the trio's friendly chamber pop.

Considering that "Music for a While," Revolver's full-length debut, takes its name from a work by 17th-century composer Henry Purcell, it's no surprise that the outing has an air of baroque dignity. Even though Revolver is a pop act at heart - its sound is based on elegantly played acoustic guitars and gentle drumwork - the band's incorporation of subtle cellos and Ambroise Willaume's patient vocals give the band an uncommon level of sophistication.

That's not to say the band is stuffy or boring. Revolver (named after the Beatles album) has an intellectual sense of whimsy that somehow avoids coming off as precious. "Do You Have a Gun?" ends with a breezy whistled melody, and "Leave Me Alone" features an unexpected harmonica solo. The jolliest (and most irresistible) track is "Get Around Town" - a brisk tune that combines the vocal harmonies of Kings of Convenience with jaunty strings and a catchy lick on the electric guitar.

From the country-flavored "Luke, Mike and John" to the lonesome ballad "Back to You," the album is an easy, enjoyable listen. It sometimes veers into Muzak-y territory, like on closer "It's Alright," but it's an impressive debut for the Parisian 20-somethings.

- Dan Miller
- The Washington Post

"Yahoo Music 'The New Now' (Live session & Interview)"

You Say You Want A French Revolution? Introducing: Revolver
By Lyndsey Parker Mon Nov 8, 2010 2:33pm PST .

A moniker like Revolver has hard-rock connotations--blame the metal magazine by that title, or maybe Slash and Weiland's "Velvet" supergroup. But the sweet and playful French trio by that name has much more in common with the Beatles, whose quirky masterpiece Revolver is one of their top influences. Anyway, despite their mild and mellow sound, these Parisian popsters have made a major impact with their delightful debut album, Music For A While..

Classically trained musicians Christophe Musset, Ambroise Willaume, and Jérémie Arcache's quiet vibe was actually born out of circumstance: Rehearsing in Paris's notoriously stacked-on-top-of-each-other, tissue-paper-walled apartments, the boys didn't exactly have the ability to crank their amps to 11, lest they disturb their cranky neighbors. Their first gigs were also in tiny, informal spaces, like watering holes and friends' living rooms, and so their quite literally christened "pop de chambre," or chamber-pop, style of music was created for practical reasons. .

Using the rich musicality they culled from their classical studies but inspired mainly by great English-language pop melodicists (Crosby, Stills & Nash, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Elliott Smith, and of course the Fab Four), Revolver issued the EP Pop de Chambre in 2008, followed by their whimsical full-length debut, which has finally been released in the States to critical acclaim by Francophiles and audiophiles alike. .

So Revolver recently journeyed to Yahoo! Music for their first-ever interview in the U.S., and we were very honored to serve as their Stateside welcome committee. To be honest, we were a little worried that there'd be a language barrier that would hinder the interview process, but we soon learned that these fellows are as charming and comfortable speaking English as they are singing it--and, frankly, they were way more articulate than some shall-remain-nameless Yanks who've visited our studio. .

You say you want a French revolution? Then watch Revolver's American debut below! .

- Yahoo! Music (US)

"MTV "Revolver shoots life into chamber pop" (acoustic session & interview)"

Baroque composers. Fifteenth century carols. Twentieth century opera…simply reading those words feels like blowing dust off a crypt. This isn’t music with any contemporary relevance, right?

Well, we felt that way — until we unwittingly heard and loved the French band Revolver. The Parisian trio threads these dead and buried conventions into bouncy chamber pop music, topping it with 60s rock influences and gorgeous Simon and Garfunkel harmonies.

And guess what? It works.

It works so well that they were nominated for a French Grammy for their debut LP Music for a While, and we just raved over the upcoming EP Parallel Lives. In the age of autotune, these young musicians – armed with two guitars, a cello, and beautiful choir boy voices — have somehow become totally embraced as a pop band.

We found out during our exclusive interview with Christophe Musset, Ambroise Willaume, and Jérémie Arcache of Revolver at theBrooklyn Lyceum. Turns out, the band simply knows their audience (America, mostly), they know what woos the crowd (their lulling voices), and they’re open-minded about incorporating all kinds of genres, including electro. Judging by our exclusive live performances, however, they don’t need a synthesized, digital crutch. These modern-day bards cast a crystalline spell that’s nothing short of heavenly

"KEXP Live From New York's Ace Hotel Lobby (CMJ 2010)"

By John Richards. December 2, 2010

Back in October, KEXP hosted its Morning and Mid Day shows from the Ace Hotel in New York City during the CMJ Music Marathon. Three days of live broadcasting (eight hours each) brought a lot of great performances to our airwaves, all from the friendly confines of the Ace Hotel lobby. Of them, the biggest surprise for me was the French band Revolver. Lately, I've been digging its new record, which reminds me of both Belle & Sebastian and Simon and Garfunkel, so I was ready for a nice, mellow morning of music.

When Revolver's arrived, they asked to play more than the usual four or five songs we usually have bands play. Hearing the sound check was enough for me to say that we needed as much as they could give us.

While they were warming up, lead vocalist Ambroise Willaume heard me playing and talking about Elliott Smith on-air (that morning happened to be the seventh anniversary of his death) and mentioned how Smith, and particularly his guitar work, was a great influence on their own music. As one of Smith's songs played while Revolver stood waiting to go live, the band actually started playing along to it. This young, charming and energetic group was more than willing to show its roots. During its set, Revolver played a beautiful cover of Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Helplessly Hoping" and brought the house down with its upbeat, seemingly rockabilly-inspired jams.

It was amazing to have a band play in a lobby, thousands of miles from home, making its U.S. debut on the air — live — and pull it off flawlessly.
- NPR Music


Revolver EP 2008 ( Astralwerks/EMI)

Music for a While album (Europe 2009 / US-UK 2010)



Revolver know what they like. They like the harmonies of the Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel, and the lyrical elegance and simplicity of Elliott Smith. They like the cello. They like Radiohead’s “15 Step”, specifically the fact that it was written in 5/4 time – ‘it’s quite free, that time-signature,’ they say. They like Henry Purcell, 17th century British Baroque composer and visionary, and John Dowland, the 16th century songwriter whose melancholy songs would, four centuries later, influence Benjamin Britten – another Revolver touchstone.
Revolver know who they are. They are three early twenty-something Parisians. Frenchmen with an abiding love and understanding of some of classical music’s greatest ever Englishmen. They are classically trained musicians who, like Radiohead, know how to turn rock inside out. Revolver are a French band named after a Beatles album singing in English. And with their debut record, Music For A While, produced by Julien Delfaud ( Phoenix) , they’ve created a beguiling, beautiful, hypnotic and proudly other slice of chamber-pop.

Are you ready to be heartbroken? And then, heart-mended?