Frou Frou – Details

Frou Frou - Details (2002)

Frou Frou - Details (2002)

Onomatopoeia is not a common word (specially if English is not your primary language, like myself) and admittedly I had to check Wikipedia just to be sure what it was. Interestingly, Frou Frou then is a French onomatopoeia for the swishing noise made by skirts of dancing women.  Does it matter? No, not really, just wanted to get that out of the way.

So, what we have here is the only album released by a British band that uses a French onomatopoeia as its name. The question that arises then is, is it any good? A simple question that deserves a very simple answer: Yes.

What is it like? This album belongs somewhere between a female vocalist’s lovers wet dream and laid-back pop disguised as electronic with trip hop elements.  And by disguised I don’t mean to say that Details pretends to be something that it isn’t, it goes more in the lines of borrowing certain elements from different genres and putting them together without giving too much emphasis just to a few of them. This might sound like the end result is somewhat bland or missing personality, but the truth is that once you get the full picture you get none of that, you just end up loving how Imogen Heap’s voice becomes the thriving force behind every single song in this album.

Details achieves a much needed balance between engaging vocals and the music that complements them, and it goes even a little further than that, because you see, this is one of those few times when you sense that feeling that everything fits perfectly, almost like walking in the middle of a scenario where every little detail was thoroughly taken care of, and none was left to luck. Don’t confuse this with over-production, as I’m sure this is not the result of making something feel greater than it actually is, and my reasons to believe that is that this album achieves all of the above and still keep things simple and discrete.

The duo was wise enough to pick songs that would feel natural when paired with Imogen Heap vocals, and while some of the songs might appeal more than others, in general terms Details never loses the touch all the way through. It always stays classy on its own way, and even though around the last tracks it suddenly makes way to more downtempo and trip hop moments, it doesn’t affect or changes the overall impression.

However, there must be negative aspects, and sadly the biggest ones here are not even directly related to this album. Frou Frou disbanded around a year later after releasing Details, leaving it as the foster kid that warms everyone’s heart and yet was unable to be reason enough for his parents to stay together. Not everything is bad news though, Imogen Heap went on to become successful on her own, and while her style has varied somewhat over the years, her musical career has been steady all the way through.

If I was asked to recommend this album by just one reason alone, I would recommend it based on the grounds of its refined and surprisingly sober nature. Whoever fancies this album in particular is showing his / her good taste. And if you actually proclaim your preference for it, just be sure to like it for what you think it is and represents, and not for what others will think of you for liking it.

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