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Vanille – Soleil ’96 Review

French infused psych pop.

Sounds like…

French psych-rock from 1973.

The review

Vanille have a wonderfully evocative French style of dream rock. Everything has a greasy smear to it. The vocals are hazy and soft. The guitars have a retro jangle to them that you can’t help but transport to 1973 with. The whole album feels like a breezy day and that’s why I love it.

‘Soleil ’96’ is the perfect crossover of dreampop and psych-rock. Every song is haunted by the jangly guitars and high register of vocalist Rachel. She can coo the French Dictionary and you’d think it was dreamy and romantic. With her angelic voice softly caressing the rock, Vanille has one foot in the door of greatness. Thankfully their music can stand up just as strongly too.


The tracks range from mid-tempo rockers you’d find on indie radio (Si je pleure) to road trip anthems (Fleur, Phoneme and Carte du ciel) to heavier psychedelic bangers (Nouvelle vague). You even get a dirty synth-infused post-rock piece with ‘Solstice’ and a few guitar solos too. One of the unsung best parts of Vanille’s songs are the basslines. They are always bombastic and on the move, straddling something you’d find on the dancefloor as well as Glastonbury.

Overall, it is the audio aesthetic of French dream-rock that Vanille just smashes. Without its indie gauze and hazy over the guitars, jaunty drums and vocals, I don’t think the album would quite have the impact it does without the sad reverb the music is drenched in. That said, the outro track ‘Les jours manques’ is a straight rock ballad and it lands the emotional punches beautifully. After much deliberation, I’ve decided that psych-pop is now a thing and this is is the kind of music I’d expect from it.

If you are looking for the French perfume advert music that rocks out like an indie dream – Vanille is the band for you. Its surprisingly addictive but you won’t be buying anything smelly afterwards. You’ll be enjoying the retro cool rock vibes instead.

Recommended track: Carte du ciel

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Vanille - Soleil '96



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