20 Jul 2024

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Miss French - Album Review: The Trials And Tribulations Of Miss French Part Two

21 Jun 2024 // A review by Peter K Malthus

Miss French is the performing name of Julie Foai, who spent 20 years touring the world with South Pacific band Te Vaka, and managed them into securing a contract with Walt Disney Pictures. Having released her debut solo album in 2016, The Trials And Tribulations Of Miss French, Pt. 12024 sees her having picked up her solo career where she left off, having just released new album The Trials And Tribulations Of Miss French Part Two.

Miss French draws influence from a hugely diverse list of musical styles. Coffee's Getting Cold is mid-tempo blues band silkiness, enhanced by horns and keys, a sassy groove that will have audiences up out of their seats in no time at all. Lyrically, a warning to not let opportunities pass you by. Released as a single in 2023, By Their Actions has a reggae feel with a wonderfully sweet vocal melody, accompanied by an array of woodwind, brass, and strings in the backing band, with an outro sung by Miss French's daughter, Olivia Foa'iDance Just For Fun is a drifty, acoustic guitar driven number about self-acceptance and joy, with a superb cheeky little accordion solo that truly fits the nature of the song. 

My own favourite of the album is Imperceptibly, faster-paced funk with great energy from the backing musicians and singers, blooming into a fantastic big horn-drenched chorus. Ancient Time starts with flutes and/or whistles, acoustic guitar, and strings floating along with the vocals to be joined eventually by a backing band. This song has a truly epic feel, displaying Miss French's skill as a composer. Footloose has a big soulful feel with energy and attitude for days. "Come on, let's go for a ride!" she exuberantly sings... sweet as, I'm there! says I, as I'm taken on a playful wander through the thoughtful instrumental middle section.

Far Away is a light and flighty love song, celebrating the joy of connection, that euphoric isolated bubble of I've-only-got-eyes-for-you love, sung with passion and gusto. There's a darkly mysterious feel to the magnificently '80s-tinged pop-rock of Talk Back, examining the murky background machinations of modern media culture. Difference Blues has all the rip-roaring blues feel of the opening track, saucy and sultry, with a brass solo that tickles the fancy in the most outrageous fashion. Bold and beautiful Blues. 

The wistful and poignant Judy's Song is a tale of loss and sadness, of opportunities not taken, sung in the most heartfelt way to a loved one no longer present. And lastly, Not Likely is a song that winds its way through opposing emotions, of promises and cautions, of hope and of letting go.

Miss French is an artist clearly at home in a multitude of genres, her powerful voice rich in character and emotion. A world-class chanteuse delivering a top-notch album. Bring on Part 3, I say.


About Miss French

Miss French is the alter ego of Julie Foai, the manager of internationally acclaimed South Pacific band, Te Vaka. After seeing Te Vaka signed to Walt Disney Pictures for the animated musical feature film, Moana, Julie Foai – aka Miss French – realised that her vision for Te Vaka was achieved (for now).

The time seemed right for her to pick up where she left off in her own musical journey. Foai's debut album The Trials and Tribulations of Miss French Part One, an album of original songs in the vein of jazz, blues and cabaret, was released in 2016 to a very warm reception.

Both Parts One and Two were produced by internationally acclaimed songwriter Opetaia Foai, who is currently signed to Walt Disney Pictures and working alongside Mark Mancina on Moana 2 (due for release on November 27th this year). He also co-wrote a number of songs on both albums.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Miss French

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