by Sofia Bolt

Recorded live in a whirlwind five days by a cast of all-stars, Waves is at once casual and tightly constructed. Amélie Rousseaux’s pop melodies leap and dive over a bed of guitars and roomy drums.

The dream team consisted of Van Dyke Parks, Emily Elhaj (Angel Olsen), Marian Li-Pino (La Luz), Bryant Fox (Miya Folick), and Itai Shapira (Rhye). From the opening sounds of “London 2009,” with snippets of conversation coming and going over a lazy drum beat, we are dropped into a world of friendship and music that heals. Improvised musical interludes tie the space together and turns Waves into a unified piece that captures a time and place.

The lyrics are transparent and immediate: “I said I’d move back to France for you / Thank God you told me not to,” she sighs in the title track, which then flips into a meditation on waves and the uncontrollable ebb and flow of daily rituals and life changes. “I eat, you eat, same story every day / You’re born, I die, the sand is swept away.” The string arrangement by Van Dyke Parks transports the track straight to the sea, with violins and cellos that mimic seagulls and wind on the water.

The desire to start fresh reaches a fever pitch in “Get Out of My Head,” where Rousseaux’s whispers are intercut with vicious guitar stabs and she pleads with herself, “Last night I had another dream about you / How many fucking dreams must I have about you.” This weariness, and the temptation to return to the comfort of Paris, is one voice in her head and one theme of the record. Resisting the temptation and facing separation, reconstruction, and self-determination in the States is the victory lap that Waves runs -- it’s a dreamy and heady introduction to Sofia Bolt.

Waves is out on June 28, 2019 on Loantaka Records.