Some songs you listen to and you know within seconds that you like them. You instantly find yourself tapping your foot, nodding your head, and becoming enthralled in the lyrics.
Such is the case with the “Smooth Recovery”, the latest single from Châtelet feat Kleo, a new trio from such a tiny village in the south of France, that its entire population is less than 4,000 people.
The band was first discovered on NewRockStars, a new music discovery and lifestyle blog. To say that this band is a rare find would be an understatement.
Before listening to the music, the first thing noticeable was the difficulty in recognizing the meaning of their name. A quick Google search revealed that Châtelet is the name of a Metro station in the medieval part of Paris named after a famous Parisian theatre and a former castle over the Seine River demolished by Napoléon.
It is also the last name of the founding member of the band, Francois (piano/bass/saxophone/composer) who originally hails from Paris. The band’s logo reflects his family’s deep ties to Parisian history which uses an image of the Eiffel Tower. Backed by Francois’s son Thomas “Chato” (drums/guitar) and Kleo on vocals, this father-and-son team makes up a trio that delivers a full sound that packs a heavy sonic punch.
After pressing play, it becomes instantly clear that this new band, despite being established just last year in 2019, is made up of up seasoned musicians who bring a fresh and invigorating confluence of funk, soul, and chill downtempo, with subtle hints of jazz.
Any serious music lover knows that it takes a trained musician to play jazz. It is not something that you can learn quickly like a barre chord; one must be armed with more than “three chords and the truth” to play jazz saxophone.
Within 30 seconds of listening to “Smooth Recovery”, your emotions will begin to stir as a good song has that effect. The down-tempo beat, bouncy guitar licks, funk-driven basslines, and the subtle jazzy horns tie the song together in a way that makes you feel like you are sitting in an oversized velvet chair sipping on an expensive glass of Parisian champagne, while celebrating a personal win of the emotional kind- with a reflective and slight grin on your face.
The conceptual joke of the song is clear: Kleo, who is the principal lyricist and lead vocalist, has made a smooth recovery from a lover who has rejected her for being overly sensitive and needy in his eyes. The former lover is now surprised to find her happy, self-reliant, and enjoying her freedom without him.
The adage that humans want what they cannot have applies here because, by the end of the song, Kleo is the one wishing him a smooth recovery from losing her to another lover.
Singing in English but with a French accent that expresses minor colloquialism fumbles that endear the listener to Kleo even more; she confesses her perceived weaknesses in her former lover’s eyes with the lyrics, “you think that I need you because I’m a little thing and so sensitive/ no, I’m a grown woman full of joy with just myself and I/ you can tell me that I’m a baby/I don’t care/cos I feel free/don’t be scared of my changes because now I feel ready to live”
The song turns into an anthem by the end of it with Kleo wailing, “you think you can let me down when I was feeling so bad/I never saw your face and now you’re coming back to me but I made my smooth recovery baby with another man who really loves me/don’t cry little baby/you’ll do a smooth recovery”
“Smooth Recovery” highlights the seasoned and diverse talents of Chatelet as musicians and Kleo’s incredible range as a singer, along with her emotional transparency, and her strength as a woman who has transformed her mental state to “sunny after stormy”.
Listen if you like music from strong women like Grace Jones or Amy Winehouse. You will not be disappointed.
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