Beaming with an effervescent, ethereal radiance, Maude Latour has achieved a state of transcendence.
This year alone, the 22-year-old kickstarted her first headline tour while graduating from Columbia University, proving her all-around starpower. On her third studio EP 001, released Sept. 30, Latour solidifies her presence as a burgeoning singer-songwriter with the ability to lure listeners into her captivating magnetic field.
Blending Lorde-esque vocals with a dreamy, synth-heavy sound, Latour crafts a distinctive brand of otherworldly indie pop. Pulsing sweetly with whimsical iridescence, her previous two EPs navigated the turbulent twists and turns of teendom — heartbreak, loneliness, feelings of impermanence.
Although 001 retains these coming-of-age sensibilities, the EP is largely a departure from Latour’s preceding records, both instrumentally and structurally. With her latest project, Latour’s artistry is more complex and polished, scaling new levels of refinement.
To accompany this maturing musicianship, the EP opens with its gritty titular track, “001.” As warped synths unravel like cords of dark matter, Latour intones, “I’m at the edge of the world that I knew.” As she explores sonically uncharted territory — this song is notably edgier than her previous works — Latour boldly invites listeners on an adventure into the unknown. An unyielding electronic beat pulsates beneath her delicate vocals during the song’s chorus with an addictiveness that permeates throughout the entire EP.
In lieu of the sobering struggles associated with adolescence, oo1 is a nuanced rendering of friendship, freedom and self-exploration. Awash in poignant vulnerability, Latour sings with finesse but not restraint, imbuing each of her seven tracks with evocative resolve.
“Lola” delights in this earnest, sentimental catharsis. Over punchy synths and muted percussive beats, Latour interlocks the platonic and the romantic, blurring the lines of female friendship. During the first verse, she avows, “Keep my girls protected/ I’m turned on when I’m respected,” an understated strength emanating from her tender vocals. By the verse’s end, her voice adopts a honeyed tone as Latour confesses, “I really think I love you, Lola.” Here, Latour celebrates the fluidity of feminine love with warmth devoid of ornamentation.
Latour’s penchant for lush spoken word poetry illuminates her blossoming creative capabilities. Pensive yet prismatic, the EP demonstrates Latour’s ability to capture intricate experiences and emotions through a uniquely intimate, unfiltered lens.
The penultimate track “Living It” exemplifies the singer-songwriter’s raw authenticity. As the chorus begins, Latour reflects on the potential for second chances in a relationship with exposed candor: “This is so difficult/ I need a miracle/ It was so innocent/ Love unconditional,” she sings. Overwhelmed by desperation, her voice takes on a featherlight quality as further feelings of disheartenment and dejection unfurl over the remainder of the 15-line chorus.
However, in a project consisting of seven tracks, it’s essential that each one holds its own — a feat that 001 doesn’t manage to achieve. “Trees” is intriguing as an intersecting mosaic of grief and nature, yet it’s too sonically somnolent to be truly memorable. Meanwhile, “Headphones,” the EP’s lead single, suffers from a similar sluggishness that clashes with its vibrant message of falling back in love with oneself.
“Cyclone” ensures that 001 ends in an introspective flurry of yearning and hope, reminiscent of Lorde’s “Ribs.” Accompanied by glistening synths and a danceable drum beat, Latour explores the growing pains associated with a fragmented relationship. Overwhelmed by feelings of regret and nostalgia, Latour likens these emotions to frenzied natural disasters. In the song’s final minute, Latour repeats, “You know me well,” and a fragile familiarity descends over the EP’s closing moments.
Save for a couple of weak tracks, Latour’s third studio EP continues to establish her identity as a stellar songstress and musician. Looking to the future, Latour will surely elevate this newfound conviction as she ascends to stratospheric heights of alt-pop success.