Un Blonde is the musical moniker of Montreal-via-Calgary visionary Jean-Sebastien Audet. I say visionary because Audet has made a record that is singular, unique and distinctly his own style. It is nearly genreless, in the most liberating and powerful way.
With artists reluctant to put themselves in a box and over sixty short years of popular music at each of our finger tips everyday, it has become common practice for critics and journalists to throw a math equation on every band you can’t quite place into a genre (i.e. a + b – c = x). So here I am, about to do a great disservice to one of the most unusual and moving albums I’ve heard in quite some time: Good Will Come To You by Un Blonde sounds like D’Angelo singing Joni Mitchell on a Sunday in 2016. Simple math!
Despite that easy equation, Good Will Come To You is an album that slowly reveals itself. It is a detailed painting of the sun rising on a small town, or a neighbourhood in a big city. There is a church beginning to fill up, people drinking coffee, lovers lying together quietly. There’s a suspended sense that everything’s alright, at least for a bit. Audet paints his picture with layered vocal flourishes, sparse piano, keys and guitars and most strikingly, wild sound. This combination gives the album a warm distance like the sounds you would hear walking through the town in the aforementioned painting.
Subtle spirituality sprinkled throughout the album heightens that sense of relative solace, but it’s not specifically religious like the “devotional” tag on his Bandcamp page suggests. There is a universality to the sounds and words Audet crafts. “I’m free, like the sun rises and leaves: that’s me”. His sentiments are calming, empowering. He expresses a love of life that is so often missing from popular music. It’s powerful and effective, making you feel that life is worth it and can be good and humane.
In times like these, when the world and our own country needs to look itself in the mirror and recognize and fix the problems it faces, we look to art to help express our distresses. We often look to music to medicate that distress and latch onto hollow and hung over sentiments to mask how bad the world can be. Un Blonde skips both these musical antidotes and acknowledges the failings that will occur in our lives and societies but also celebrates the beauty and mysticism that comes along with human existence and all its strange imperfections. Good Will Come To You appeals to anyone in need of a deep exhale and showcases a worldview that is distinctly indistinct. How appropriate that genre lines get blurred, crossed and erased so compellingly in Canada. Hopefully one day, we’ll achieve the level of liberation Jean-Sebastien Audet seems to have reached.