The band’s third studio album is as calm poignant as you’d find from any lounge act. Ma Fleur is less motion and more emotion compared to their previous, jazzier releases. Dark piano, throaty vocals, and mellow acoustic guitar span across a relatively solemn collection of songs originally built for a soundtrack.
Most of Ma Fleur has the pulse of a napping sloth, but it’s both soothing and absorbing. The initial track, “That Home”, and several others feature vocals from Montreal musician Patrick Watson. His wispy vocals add a ballad-esque dimension to the calm horn/piano progression. “That Home” evolves into “Familiar Ground”, a more climactic progression of the same music that stars vocals from Fontella Bass. Other Watson-led tracks are “Music Box”, a cool acoustic plucking, and “To Build A Home”, which is an affecting piano swoon. Singer Lou Rhodes also appears on a couple of tracks, including the ethereal “Time & Space”. With some help, The Cinematic Orchestra spells out an enchanting, deceptively simple album of dark velvet tunes.
There’s something mysterious about this album, with its understatement and dark mood refracting attention. Ma Fleur is definitely a night-time album, as its eerie instrumentation and slow vocals command immediate relaxation. It’s somewhere between cosmopolitan and therapeutic.