Lætitia Sadier plays National Sawdust with support from Storefront Church

March 20, 2024
7:30 pm
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Over the course of her career, spanning three-plus decades, Lætitia Sadier has never shied away from the hard topics, or stopped advocating for the possibility of self determination and emancipation in the face of the powers that be, conscious or unconscious. This is an essential part of the foundation she co-built with Stereolab, showcasing her spiritual, scientific and sociopolitical inquiries. She’s continued this process with Monade and under her own name and as a writer/singer/musician whose every album acts as a report on her journey of the self through time, space and the collective.

On Rooting For Love, the report is set alight by the heat of a turbulent world, collapsing institutions and Lætitia’s fully engaged process of expression as well as orchestration. The opening number, “Who + What” elucidates the central issue of the album: a call for a collective striving for Gnosis — an inquisitive outlook that will lend clues to the traumatized civilizations of Earth, allowing us to evolve away from millennia of alienation and suffering and towards the achievability of healing. The musical arrangements help to embody the layers of the issue, as with “Who + What”’s combination of organ, synths, guitar, bass, trombone, drum programming, vibraphone and zither, all working along intricate paths of chord and tempo changes. Leading from the inside is the implacable presence of Lætitia Sadier, herself interacting with a vocal assembly of men and women billed as The Choir. The regular reappearance of The Choir throughout Rooting For Love is a reminder of this music being one of a people in critical mass, in addition to an evolution that continues to deepen the rich harmonic fields in which Lætitia plays.

Past wounds are addressed again and again in the libretto, as the music provides a transformational balm to aid the healing process. The melodic funk of bassist Xavi Muñoz leads a Chic-adjacent slink to the occasional dance floor vibes and no-wave rockouts, while Hannes Plattemier and Emma Mario take turns in mixing the tracks and informing the far reaches of the material, with vibes, additional drum programming and synths alongside a talented cast of players and singers from Lætita’s Source Ensemble and beyond.

Whether drawing inspiration from Zen Shiastu training, or the lyrics of Véronique Vincent, (lyricist and singer for Aksak Maboul, and once upon a time, lead singer of the French Honeymoon Killers), Lætitia faces the truth without flinching. The shadows, whatever stuff they are made of — individual and collective, present and ancestral — need to be recognized and acknowledged, because the more we heal within ourselves, the more undivided we become in the face of looming Neofascist/Neoliberal narratives polluting the inner and outer landscapes. As with the cover image of the winter tree mirrored by the word patterns of Rooting For Love, Lætitia maintains that how we heal the world that’s coming, and what we make of it, will be a co-creation. The quality of our imagination, the orientation we give our thoughts and the capacity to bring love to ourselves and the world are a first step.

Alongside her collaboration with Modern Cosmology, last year’s incredible What Will You Grow Now?, as well as her continued tours with a reformed Stereolab, Rooting For Love finds Lætitia back in the world, once again urging all our grounded inner alignment and heart power to make us better equipped for creating what’s to come.

About Storefront Church

For years, Lukas Frank, the artist at the center of Storefront Church, has been quietly honing his craft. As a musician, he’s played with artists across genres, spending time as the drummer in a multitude of projects, most notably in Phoebe Bridgers’ band. The two even collaborated on one of Frank’s solo songs, “Shame,” which was handpicked by T Bone Burnett for inclusion in the Netflix series Godless. But slowly, Frank began wanting to build something of his own making. “I started Storefront Church as an exercise. But I eventually fell further and further down the rabbit hole and became obsessed with the project.”

The result was taking on the moniker Storefront Church, and making the band’s debut album, As We Pass, as lush and evocative as possible. On first blush, As We Pass scans as a sweeping artistic statement, one that paints dark, weathered landscapes and pairs them with Frank’s mournful croon. Comparisons can be made to the likes of such classic artists as Roy Orbison and Scott Walker, but there’s also an undercurrent of Nick Cave’s free-form experimentation, and even the desolation of OK Computer, that makes As We Pass never fall into one singular mode.

“We weren’t trying to make references to other artists, but worked to serve each song individually, which is why I don’t think you can point to any one song and say that’s what the band sounds like,” says Frank. “There was a spirit that anything goes. That we could have this retro-feeling one, and this more aggressive one, and even a dreamier feeling one, but that there’s an emotional and tonal throughline.”

That commonality can be heard from the first piano run of “After The Alphabet” that opens the album to the riff-soaked ripper of “Faction From Under The Grove” and even the orchestral waves of “Asphalt Dog.” There’s a constant yearning for growth that permeates the listening experience, forcing the listener to look inside themselves and interrogate their own personal demons. “It’s that transient state of something ending, whether it’s your childhood, a relationship, or something more,” says Frank of the album’s underlying ethos. As We Pass is about people navigating those most difficult moments and finding ways to bloom in spite of clouds overhead.

But it’s important to note that, while Frank is the figurehead of Storefront Church, As We Pass was built in collaboration with some of his closest friends. Guitarist Waylon Rector worked tirelessly alongside Frank, helping co-write songs on the album, helping crystalize the album’s vision. Similarly, DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith worked along with Frank on the material, co-writing songs and ensuring the album’s sound fully took root. And of course, there’s engineer Cassidy Turbin, who has been one of Beck’s closest confidants, gave As We Pass the same care. Looking at Storefront Church, it’s clear that there’s no goal in terms of genres or sonic templates, but instead an unending commitment to exploring the deepest fears and most buried truths of human existence. “It’s about getting closer to the center of this project,” says Frank, acknowledging that there is no single way forward, other than a constant desire to grow, evolve, and create on his own terms.

Mar 20

Laetitia Sadier