Osmojam – Échappée [Album Review]

The long awaited debut LP from Parisian songbird Osmojam is now available.

Featuring production from not only herself but longtime collaborator Tum’Soul and the vocal talents of Aldrick and Ray Lika, Osmojam places not only her lithe vocals on full display but also her songwriting as “Échappée” takes many cues from numerous subjects such as Love, Happiness,  Interracial Relationships and even a small amount of Global Politics, all of which work well towards the album’s name and underlying theme.

Tackling inspiration and the cultivation of ideas is a theme little heard, yet to hear her encourage listeners to embrace, nurture and support good ideas on lead single “With An Idea [Avec Une Idée]”, is not only a refreshing thought but it also grooves with jazzy piano stabs and a baseline that teeters in that sweet spot just between Soul and Hip-Hop.

Later in the project on “Subway [Metro]“, Osmojam and featured artist TIS trade lyrics revolving around a tête-à-tête between a girl and a boy of not only different races but social classes as well.

A heavy concept for a ballad, especially when you read the lyrics, about a possible chance for love if they can overcome their differences. The outcome of the impromptu meeting is not only a social commentary on relationships but also a nod to the tragic theme becoming more commonplace in these marvelous times, as the traditional happy ending is replaced by a huge question mark on what happens next between them.

Further down the line of album cuts, we are treated to the Tum’Soul produced track that first caught our ears, “Si Tu Veux Rester [If You Want To Stay]” but this version, in relation to the original, is decidedly toned down. The commanding drums and bass line, while still audible, are much less prevalent in this version and allow for the subtleties of Osmojam’s vocals to forge ahead and shed more light on her range. Never one to be afraid to add her twist to another artist’s song, the nicely jazzed-up “Bad Romance” cover she brings to the table not only highlights her ability to create music from someone else’s template but she’s sure to surprise most listeners with her ability to sing in English and sound just as pristine as in her native tongue.

Échappée” (Escape for those not fluent in French) as a title is completely à propos here. Each subsequent track is designed to transport your ears and mind away from the normality, repetitiveness and complacency too often found in the present soul soundscape. Those already versed in French Soul/Afropean Music or even ones not yet inducted but also not too stubborn about language barriers to attempt a listen, should find an LP on par with similar artists; Les Nubians, Leslie Phillips or even Zap Mama, brimming with enough jazzy/soulful production to make it a perfect auditory backdrop to unwind with yet boasting the right amount of solid songwriting to make it mentally engaging as well.

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