Wednesday 1 March 2023

'Du Fond du Coeur' by The Vogs

'Du Fond du Coeur' marks the brand new album release from The Vogs who continue their journey as part of France's sensational Q-Sounds Recordings.

Excitingly, the album marks the first full-length follow-up to the band's 2018 debut release, 'A Change is Coming', which brilliantly established the foundations for a contemporary soul band who openly acknowledge their influences by soul music's architects.  For this record, The Vogs openly declare for French soul music of the 1960s with affectionate nods towards northern soul as well.

The years since 'A Change is Coming' have seen some incredible successes for the label with releases by a dream team of modern-day funk & soul luminaries including The Supertights, The Principles of Joy, Lisa Mélissa & The Mess and Laura Llorens & The Shadows of Love.  And while The Vogs hadn't disappeared completely - they did release the two-track single 'Cette Lettre Là' in 2021 - it's certainly a pleasure to see the band's return and to see them reassert their name amongst France's soul music flag wavers.

For their latest ten-track offering, there are some decided changes undertaken that pay dividends for the group.  Perhaps most notable is the promotion of former Vogs backing vocalist, Nadia Hassani, to the distinction of lead vocalist who absolutely soars in the role.  Also, with much of the album's writing handled by Q-Sounds' own Christelle Amoussou and Ludovic Bors, The Vogs embrace the songs more so of their native tongue in a bid to attain a closer connection to France's own soul music lineage.  'Faire Semblant' presents an early album standout with a brilliantly-composed track featuring nice changes and band solos; 'Faire le Premier' lives and dies off its voracious energy which would be a thrill to see performed live, and the sweet soul of 'Pour Que Tu Ne M'Oublies Pas' is fairly undeniable.

Thankfully, The Vogs also continue the distinctive trend of Q-Sounds cover versions which, over past releases, has seen Lisa Mélissa tackle 'Backstabbers' by The O'Jays as well as present an inspired reggae-styled reimagination of Amy Winehouse's 'Back to Black'; the Principles of Joy injected impassioned energy into Paul Young's 'Come Back and Stay' while Rebecca Dry & Radek Azul Band reinvented the glistening 80s pop of Soft Cell's 'Tainted Love' as a soul-drenched and horn-heavy treasure.  For 'Du Fond du Coeur', The Vogs present a French translation of the 1966 Holland–Dozier–Holland penned classic 'You Keep Me Hangin On' by The Supremes resulting in an excellent rendition bolstered by some fuzzy guitar and commanding drums.  

The album actually boasts another cover in the form of The Vogs' own 'I Wanna Tell You'.  Originally included as part of the tracklist for 'A Change is Coming' and recorded with a more arresting performance, the new version is a sublime take on the track and an absolute scene-stealer for the album showcasing a more sultry vocal from Hassani and an all-round smoother reimagining.

'Du Fond du Coeur' serves as a wonderful reintroduction to The Vogs and it's certainly satisfying to see the collective resume their spot amongst the Q-Sounds front line.

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