The Memory Layers (Lafolie Records)
Reviewed by Neph Basedow, Fri., Aug. 21, 2015
On his third LP, Frenchman Guillaume Fresneau crystallizes his adopted Austin digs with genuine Southern-studded alterna-folk. Cello-buoyed opener "Dryland" commences the 11-track CD, its spiritually skewed chorus conveying the expat's embraced migration effectively: "I'm finally home," he sings, a tinge of twang detected in his calm baritone. Contributions from members of the Polyphonic Spree and Dana Falconberry's backing band reinforce the album's Texas slant, as do its producer Matt Pence (Midlake, Centro-matic), and mixer Erik Wofford (Black Angels, White Denim). "H Town" additionally nods the Rennes native's former stomping grounds, having lived briefly in Houston as a child. "Old Heart" clicks catchiest amid its rich octave leaps and swelling orchestration. At times, strings' constant accompaniment muddles the singer's would-be poignancy. "Desperate Days" clutters in over-orchestration, while emotive closer "Change in Me" would pack more weight employing a less-is-more approach, thus leaving leeway for Fresneau to bloom as the propitious songwriter this disc substantiates.