A Parisian Band: Loki Starfish

In Paris an alternative pop music band has started to garner attention that is, to judge by the publicity materials issued about it, but also by the snapshots taken during its live performances, a counterpart to the musical projects which have emerged from the Rhode Island School of Design or from Central Saint Martins, for not only in anglophone countries do the erstwhile fine-art students frequently land in another although adjacent field and make a name for themselves there. Loki Starfish may be the latest analogue à la française to those unexpected byproducts of the art schools of England and the United States – and as though to underscore an Anglo-Franco-American commonality, the band’s lyricist and singer, Jérémie Lapeyre, even operates entirely in English!

The origin of the band’s name, which, after all, does sound rather odd at first, is elucidated by Lapeyre in a video (albeit one in French) available on its Youtube channel. As he explains the matter, they did indeed have the old Scandinavian mischief-maker in mind, intending presumably to make some of their own by juxtaposing in the music opposites such as north and south, masculine and feminine, hot and cold, malign and benign, thereby fashioning something like a new mythology. Mythology? Well, leaving that idea aside, in the musical results themselves there are numerous juxtapositions which, at their best and most energetic, will get the listeners moving.

All the same, a few years were needed for Loki Starfish to gel, and whether the current line-up and direction are firm, remains to be seen. At present, alongside Lapeyre, who founded it, there are the drummer Jacques de Candé, the keyboardist Thomas Suire, the bass guitarist and keyboardist Louis Pontvianne, and the keyboardist Donatien Roustant – yes, the synthesizers do hold sway here! – while in the band’s latest number, “Broken Moth,” their friends Sophie Maurin and Florent Livet help out as additional vocalists. In any event, this tune represents a significant step beyond the band’s earlier and at times quirky or inchoate efforts, with the music’s martial cast or marching-band disposition of tempo contrasting with the beginnings (or else the remnants) of poly-rhythmic arrangements that one hears repeatedly, the whole being lent additional complexity and charm by the call and response allocation of the vocal parts.

While “Broken Moth” may be heard on the band’s Soundcloud page, on its Youtube channel there is a video of an actual performance, recorded last summer at the Parisian venue Point Ephémère, that is far more lively and in which Loki Starfish in its present configuration gives every sign of coming into its own.

An entire album is evidently in the works, and so, with a little luck, at some later date the band will be giving concerts elsewhere than in Paris alone. For the moment, though, for those in its vicinity, it plays every so often at venues there – the next being scheduled in fact for tomorrow, at Les Trois Baudets.