Hollysiz is the playful moniker for French actress Cécile Cassel’s music career. My Name Is, is her debut album and it’s been gradually taking the world of pop by storm ever since it was first released in France during September of 2013. In fact, it did so well in France that they re-released it in October 2014 with bonus tracks. (Sadly, these bonus tracks aren’t on the U.S. edition. Oh well, the incredible album is still well worth your music buying dollars without them.)
“Nobody knows what tomorrow will be, but with you by my side it’ll be better than yesterday,” Cécile sings, her voice sugary sweet, during the album’s luscious opening track, “Better Than Yesterday.” It’s a super danceable, upbeat song that goes down smoothly but then hatches inside of you, transforming into jumping beans that will have you bouncing around euphorically. Like the rest of the album, it was produced by Dave Bascombe, a brilliant producer who got his big break decades ago when he engineered Tears for Fear’s mega-successful Songs From the Big Chair. Since then, he’s worked with such artists as Natalie Imbruglia, Peter Gabriel, Suede and Erasure. He appears to have the Midas touch because most of the albums he’s produced have at least gone gold and a huge percentage have even gone platinum. But, let’s get back to talking about Hollysiz…
The album’s second track, “Come Back To Me,” goes, “come back to dance with me,” and it’s impossible to sit still while playing the blistering dance pop number. It’s so tasty that it sounds like it could’ve been on The Ting Tings’ flawless debut, We Started Nothing.
There’s a strong Blondie influence here, something you’re sure to detect as soon as you listen to the opening chords of the slick, guitar-driven “OK,” which could’ve been one of their hit songs circa “Call Me.”
Another great guitar-propelled song, “Tricky Game,” also has a Blondie vibe going on. At times you would swear you’re actually listening to a Blondie record, Cécile’s voice being so reminiscent of Debbie Harry’s. (She also calls to mind Kim Wilde and Pat Benatar.)
“What A Man Hides,” which features the acclaimed trumpet player Ibrahim Maalouf, starts off with acoustic guitar and gives one the impression that it’s going to be a subtle ballad before dance-ready beats drop and a fierce, rolling bassline begins.
The beats that begin “Sponge Friend” could’ve been sampled from a Devo hit. They’re not, but they sure sound like it. It’s not a bad thing either.
As you’ve probably deduced by now, My Name Is has a bold ’80’s sound to it. For a lot of artists, that’s a bad thing because they don’t quite nail it, many of them thinking you just need to use a drum machine from the era to cop the sound. However, in the case of Cécile’s music there’s an ’80’s stamp all over it, virtually embedded in each and every note. There’s a reason for that, though. Dave Bascombe is one of the producers who helped define that sound, so it comes naturally for him. Making this album might have made him wax nostalgic but it actually *is* his sound, so it’s entirely authentic. All of that being said, the songs here all have the kick and oomph you would expect from a modern pop album, the dance beats especially having the bass you’re craving.
The funny thing about this album coming out at this time is that most of the people who are getting into it probably weren’t even born when the classic ’80’s sound ruled the radio. So, to them, the album won’t feel nostalgic. It will just feel like cool modern music. C’est très chic!
ALBUM ON AMAZON UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/