Around March 2021 we received an invitation from French ensemble Edenya to review their full-length debut album Silence, released the previous year. Having taken a listen, and liking the album’s multifaceted opener, The Promise, I earmarked the album for an in-depth listen. Initial impressions were that musically the track sat well with me, however it was the vocals which immediately resonated. Some time elapsed however before I finally had a chance to fully sit down with the album, and as with the opener, a couple of tracks, including the eleven minute title song, were multifarious and required several listens. Happy to report each session revealed more and more detail and charm. Silence turned out to be a very welcome discovery.
So earlier this year when the man behind Edenya, Marco, touched base about the new album, I was keen to take a listen. Album opener Impossible Meeting immediately reaffirmed the gentler side of Edenya’s sound with picked acoustic guitar, a sympathetic string arrangement featuring violinist Juliette Carradec, and rising through the floaty music – crystal clear, wordless vocals. At two-and-a-half minutes, Impossible Meeting is a great introduction to the album, and the perfect setting for track two, Somewhere In My Dreams. Jangly arpeggiated guitar introduces this time around, initially with wordless vocals, light orchestration, before the pace is picked up by the bass. And then we have the vocals, a key attractor on Silence. Once again the infectious, sweet melody, enchanting harmonies shine out and nicely complement the positive lyrics.
So who are Edenya? Research for the previous album didn’t unearth an awful lot of background other than the country of origin, that Edenya was formed, circa 2010, by multi-instrumentalist Marco. Initially the idea was that Edenya would be a solo instrumental project, and given the quality of the music it could well have been a fascinating one, however, somewhere along the line vocals were added and an EP surfaced in 2017. The EP included guest musicians Adrien France (violin), Sandrine (backing vocals), Bob the drummer, and bassist (later the drummer as well) Julien Perdereau, who, along with Marco, remains stable through all three releases. The EP vocalist was Ida Rose. By 2020 different new guests appeared and we now had two singers – Elena and Rémi.
Which leads me on to track three, and as Marco’s seemingly simple but very effective guitar introduces The Tree, and as the ‘affected’ vocals appear, the nagging doubt lurking in the back of my mind surfaced regarding the voice. A quick glance at the accompanying literature revealed another change in the vocal department. Now if I briefly return to the Silence album, and just how crucial Elena’s voice was, and minded of Elena’s exquisite delivery across the album and in particular the haunting Sabrina, I pondered the plight of her successor. The good news is in Clélia Lenoble, Edenya have found an equally versatile, beguiling and stunning vocalist.
So far the song structures have remained fairly straightforward, however in the introduction I made reference to the multifaceted nature of the material. Inside Your Walls, which clocks in just shy of ten minutes, reminds us of Edenya’s more progressive excursions. Opening with a Ska-like bass riff, the track strolls through a whole gamut of styles – the folkier acoustic guitar/vocal sections (I must mention the sublime harmonies again), whilst Marco channels his heavier, psychedelic side during the mid-instrumental section. Curiously, it’s during this track that you become aware of drummer Julien Perdereau. Here he is busy, whilst remaining sympathetic to the music, later he powers through the driven sections. Moving through the track there’s a lovely symphonic interlude with Juliette Carradec on violin, a themed guitar solo, before concluding with a beefy vocal outro.
The middle section of the album had me perplexed for days with each of the three tracks being very familiar, but I just couldn’t pinpoint them. Finally the déjà vu dilemma was resolved! Back to 2017 and Edenya’s self-titled EP, which I obviously must have checked out when reviewing the previous album, and making a reappearance are I Hope, Garden and Another Place. All three tracks have undergone remixing and/or remastering. First up, the folky I Hope, Clélia’s sweet vocal underpinned by Marco’s rippling guitar, whilst Ida Rose’s touching lyric speaks of regret and loss.
I need your blessing, don’t forget me
I feel so alone alone alone
I hope because you live always in me.”
I Hope is followed by the melancholic instrumental Garden. Here Marco turns to the piano, gradually adding layers of strings to create another touching moment on the album. And as Garden‘s reverb drenched piano fades it lays foundation for the final cut from the debut EP. Again sparse piano is employed as the main accompaniment for Another Place, dripping with melancholia, Clélia’s scintillating vocal captures the moment as she stretches across her wonderful dynamic range. Wow! Interspersed between the vocal Marco allows himself the freedom to stretch out with some fine melodic lead guitar.
In many respects the inclusion of these three tracks is a coup de maître, and kudos to Edenya for their inclusion. Not only does they work with the overall theme, or concept of Another Place – the desire to be elsewhere by whatever means you use to achieve this – it’s also key to the album’s flow. The 2023 updated version of I Hope has been both elevated and transformed by Clélia’s voice, whilst Garden is the perfect segue to the title track. On top of this there’s
a strong melodic and lyrical link between Another Place and the album closer Let Me Go.
Now, as yet another catchy guitar motif, accompanied by an earworm vocal melody, emerge into the headphones, I’m mindful of simply repeating myself. So perhaps a change of tack and look at where the songs diversify, again, as indicated in my intro. The Shelter is a prime example; basking in its gentle textures, we are rudely awakened by a descending, punky guitar riff and pummelling drums, whereas Clélia’s voice just ascends into the upper mesosphere. Had I not heard the previous album I’d be inclined to ask what on earth is going on here. Is this a different band? But Edenya are not afraid of moving off kilter and I admire that. The penultimate track, The Other Side, employs a similar rise and fall formula, whilst bringing in both symphonic and post-rock textures.
Now Let Me Go may be the last track, but what a closer. A truly beguiling ballad, breathtakingly sung and with a lamenting chorus that brings a tear to the eye…
My darling, you have to go on
Oh let me go
Please hear me, for you, life goes on
Oh let me go
Please trust me, I will carry on
Oh let me go
Listen to me
My soul will
My soul will live.”
Bringing this review to a close, and broadly speaking, Edenya fall within the ethereal, progressive folk circle, but – and there’s always a but – they are willing to push out of that mould and challenge the listener. The majority of the tracks are song based and immediate winners with Marco’s crafted song writing a perfect match for Clélia’s bewitching voice. However there a times when Edenya do challenge, and personally I reckon they’ve got the balance spot on with Another Place. Love this album and heartily recommend it.
01. Impossible Meeting (2:33)
02. Somewhere In My Dreams (5:07)
03. The Tree (3:53)
04. Inside Your Walls (9:37)
05. I Hope (3:18)
06. Garden (2:22)
07. Another Place (7:38)
08. The Shelter (6:54)
09. The Other Side (5:21)
10. Let Me Go (4:54)
Total Time – 51:37
Marco – Guitars, Keyboards, Piano, Programming
Clélia Lenoble – Lead & Backing Vocals
Julien Perdereau – Drums, Bass Guitar
Juliette Carradec – Violin (tracks 1,4,5,6 & 9)
Sophie Clavier – Backing Vocals (track 5)
Record Label: M&O Music Label
Country of Origin: France
Date of Release: 13th January 2023