It’s been an interesting year for music videos given the circumstances society has found itself in, but for Sébastien Lacombe, introducing the overused quarantine theme into his concept for the “My Thousand Dollar Car” video simply wasn’t on the table. There’s nothing worse than an artist who doesn’t care enough about their own material to break away from the mainstream trajectory their peers are following, but in singles like this one, true singer/songwriters with a penchant for the puritan over the posed like Lacombe shine brighter than any of their well-varnished rivals could ever hope to on their own.
Simple, fluid, melody based; this is both the creative mantra behind the music video for “My Thousand Dollar Car” and its parent album Fly as a whole, and you needn’t give the record’s tracklist more than a casual once-over to understand precisely what I’m talking about. Even in tight spots like “Mr. Suicide Man” and “Every Man Needs Loving,” Fly boasts an airy vibe that makes us feel as though we’re listening to an isolated thought rather than an isolated artist (and believe me – there’s a big distinction between the two). Would it fit in with some of the major label hits out this October? No, and that’s exactly what makes it such a credible indie document.
Self-consciousness drives home the lyrical narratives in “I Am Who I Am,” “When the Devil Rides with Me” and “Gold in Your Soul,” three of my favorite cuts from the record, but it never devolves into the sort of pretentiousness that brought the last generation of alternative folk artists to their knees well before reaching its prime. Lacombe has something to share about himself in this disc, but amidst moments like those in “Rise” and “So You Say” – and, to a lesser extent, the title track – he steps outside of the song structure just to make plaintive statements that are as commentarial as they are reflective.
Fly doesn’t give us the first set of songs Sébastien Lacombe has penned worth exploring if you’re a serious music enthusiast, but I do believe it could be his most conceptual offering so far (depending on how you look at it, that is). There isn’t any progressive camp to put up with in any of the nine tracks here, but if you pick up on an underlying story that has only begun to be told beneath the aesthetical charms of songs like “When the Devil Rides with Me,” you should know you’re not the only one.