Racoon Racoon’s Lea and Leonard have been making music together for four years now, but they’ve been a couple for a decade, and love lies at the center of most of their work. In a few weeks, the French folk duo will release “Birds and Daisies,” a new single, and this year they will drop their third studio EP.
While the group has recorded in Belgium, their most recent EP Dawn Chorus was “written in the heart of the Italian Alps.” The seven-track record is a mix of tender, delicate love songs and lush, vocal-less instrumental interludes, opening with a dreamy title track filled with easygoing lyrics like “oh sweetheart, let’s contemplate” and closing with the eerie, mysterious “Rue De Nuits.”
My favorite on the record is the second track, “Grace,” which opens with Lea and Leonard singing chilling lyrics in unison: “lost in your thoughts, you must have gone so far away, what else should I have done to make you stay.” It’s a song of regret, bitterness, and passion, in which the speaker asks painful questions — “to whom do you belong?” — and describes the upsetting aftereffects of a relationship gone wrong — “fear the sorrow, it brings empty bottles on its way.” The song is directly followed by the EP’s first instrumental interlude “Hunting Demons.” The piece, which feels like an appropriate emotional follow-up to the sadness of “Grace,” features a soft piano intro, then a series of lush, orchestral melodies. It’s definitely a high point on the record.
Since Dawn Chorus, the duo has continued to shape their musical presence with more tender, raw songs about love. One of these singles is “Thunderbird,” which focuses on simple and intimate moments of love.
The music video Racoon Racoon released for it perfectly matches the mood of the song, with the camera moving to and from shots of intimacy between the lovers, whether it be by the campfire or under covers, and the two are always grinning at each other. The verses are straightforward, with each of the two taking turns describing the relationship. Lea remarks such rudimentary things as “the world is spinning, and I am singing, getting high on your perfume, playing loud your favorite tune,” and in the chorus the two confess their passionate feelings: “I wake up everyday, and I find that I love you more… than I did the day, the day before.” The song and the video are playful and sweet.
Artist: Racoon Racoon
Single: “Deep Brown Eyes”
Genre: Chamber Folk
Base of Operations: Cow Island, Louisiana
About: “Racoon Racoon is a Chamber folk duo from France formed by Léa and Léonard. The ten-year couple began to compose together when living in Belgium, in 2016 and soon released a first EP “Our Love’s Funeral” in February 2017 on the German label Majestic Casual Records..”
Home Online: website
Members: Léa Courty and Leonard Bremond
Last month’s single, “Deep Brown Eyes,” is arguably the duo’s best work yet, and it successfully represents the emotions that they aim to nail down in many of their songs, but with a balance between gentle acoustic verse and and insanely catchy chorus (“Thunderbird” certainly has the former, but not so much the latter). The two harmonize on “that song we used to play, to make you feel ok, pulling the strings of my heart whenever you fell apart,” which has a uniquely airy melody. On Facebook, Racoon Racoon told followers to “take a walk with us through the French Alps and feel the love” when they released the song. In “Deep Brown Eyes,” the duo’s vocals meld together magically atop a special cloud of acoustics. The love was definitely felt.
The video for “Deep Brown Eyes” is a series of vintage-looking, shaky shots, capturing everyday moments of love and nature. The camera shows mountains, grain fields, brown eyes, trudging through snow, a fireplace, and more. It’s in many ways similar to the “Thunderbird” video in its attention to nature and human expression, but the old-fashioned cinematic look adds a nice touch.
Racoon Racoon writes smooth songs that hardly ever stray from fundamental human emotions. Definitely watch for their next single on May 29 and for their next EP sometime in 2020.
Bio: Owen Tucker-Smith is a student journalist based in Williamstown interested in climate, politics, music, and the stories of young people. He is finishing a two year tenure as editor-in-chief of the Greylock Echo, Williamstown’s high school paper, and is excited to be telling stories at a time when quality journalism is more important than ever.