Marginal Spots


French musician François Virot present his second solo album, Marginal Spots, following his acclaimed 2008 debut, Yes Or No. That album's lo-fi pop-folk won Virot praise for his staggering melodies and nervous urgency, earning comparisons to artists like Animal Collective. In the wake of its reception, Virot found himself dragged out of the invisibility of Lyon's squats and rushed hastily on stage. He was expected to give his opinion, but no one realized how unprepared he was. He had crafted his songs for himself, the hard way -- for such a hyperactive artist, versed in songwriting since childhood, naiveté was not a ploy, and DIY is not a fancy gadget. As Virot recalls, "The first time they dimmed the lights at one of my concerts, I didn't understand what was going on. I came on stage, everyone cheered. I needed to change a string, so I said so, and the crowd answered by applauding once again. I changed my string, I finished my beer, 10 minutes had passed, the lights were still on me. People found the scene delightful, they were laughing hysterically. For me, it was hell. There have been many moments such as this one." Two years after his debut, in 2010, Virot appeared on the credits of two of the most beautiful records of the year. The first, Comfortable Problems by the trio the Clara Clara, put to shame every claimant to Deerhoof's throne, with Virot showcasing his rowdy yet precise drumming skills and chanting in a world somewhere between happy hardcore and subtle power pop. The second, Time And Death by the duo Reveille, was as touching, addictive, and imperfect as a collection of demos from The Evens. Now, following the 2016 release of Clara Clara's third album, Bugarach, Virot returns to his solo work with an album that is as much a realization of his obsessions (colorful drums, catchy but devious melodies, referential tangles including The Police, The Ex, Joe Dassin . . .) as a declaration of independence from indie pop laws. As Virot puts it, "Lately I haven't been able to find any record without reverb effects, or a band that doesn't use a chorus pedal or some recorded material live. It annoyed me. Music-making should not be about composing the most beautiful thing there is. You need to catch a glimpse of what's inside, hear an actual human being sing and play." Marginal Spots is François Virot at his core, oblivious to the illusion of success, directly plugged into his heartbeat.