Christine And The Queens – Chris (3 stars)

Christine And The Queens – Chris

Classically crafted but insubstantial electro pop on Heloise Letissier's second album

French singer/performer Heloise Letissier first introduced her all-singing, all-dancing Christine and the Queens project via the streamlined electro pop of Chaleur Humaine. Now this intriguing Gallic pop star moves the goalposts a smidgen by striking a scribble through the latter part of her stage name, and declaring 'it's very much you allowing yourself to be even more, you know'. If you say so – though others might just call it a bit of a contrived concept and an image change for album two.

Letissier has already struck a chord with her focus on gender politics. For Chris, she has accentuated her androgyny, taking inspiration she says from Leonard DiCaprio's portrayal of Romeo – not that that is necessarily conveyed in the music. And there's the rub: Christine and the Queens is an integrated audio-visual experience where the entrancing choreography – part street dance, part modern ballet – masks some pretty banal electro pop.

This time round, Letissier at least injects a modicum of funk with bass wobble, hi hat, vocal inflections and finger clicks lifted straight from Michael Jackson on the uncluttered 'Comme Si'. The clean, trebly sound is refined even further on 'Girlfriend' which adds in some Nile Rodgers-style lean funk guitar for that je ne sais quoi appeal.

'Doesn't Matter', hailed by Letissier as a 'cathedral', is her hooky, staccato musing on faith in a higher power, and she references north African vocal traditions alongside a spare funk bassline (think Frankie Knuckles' 'Your Love') on 'Goya Soda'.

'Damn (What Must A Woman Do)' is the kind of machine funk mover which Beyonce would do a number on, but is handled here with an unflustered economy of expression. In fact, the entire album is sonic nouvelle cuisine – classically crafted and presented, though wafer thin and insubstantial in places and lacking the body to really satisfy the senses. (Fiona Shepherd)

Out Fri 21 Sep (Because).

Christine & the Queens

French singer-songwriter touting shimmering synth noises and gender politics.

Victoria Park, London E3

Sun 26 May 2019

Prices to be confirmed

With Metronomy, Maribou State, Beach House, HONNE, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Toro y Moi, Ezra Collective, Baloji, Rina Sawayama and Cuco.

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