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Francois Virot: 'Say Fiesta'

French musician Francois Virot.
French musician Francois Virot.

Recorded at his home in Lyon, France with little more than an acoustic guitar and hand claps to accompany his vocals, Francois Virot's full-length debut, Yes or No, is indeed spare. But don't expect a typical singer-songwriter CD. Yes or No is lyrically rich, brimming with personality and charm, and produced with surprising layers of vocals and guitars that create a warm and vibrant sonic landscape.

"Say Fiesta," showcases Virot's melodic charisma as he strums along on his guitar, yelping and crooning out sing-along lyrics. Virot's playful nature is again shown on his cover of Billie Holiday's "I Wish I Had You." Holiday's original was full of romantic grace and elegance, but Virot creates a version entirely his own. Joyful rather than wistful, Virot's "I Wish I Had You" is an innocent ode to young love, complete with hand claps and beautifully earnest "I love you's."

Not all of Yes or No is cheerful, though. Virot's emotive, uneven vocals work especially well when layered on the mournful "Young Sand" and the contemplative "Fish Boy." If the album's title is a question, then upon listening to its lo-fi bedroom pop, you'll agree that "yes" is the answer.

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Tamara Vallejos