Christine and the Queens

Chaleur Humaine

(Because)

In 2010, Héloïse Letissier left France to study in London where, inspired by drag queens she met at a Soho club, she devised the idea for Christine and the Queens. The album she made in her new guise, Chaleur Humaine, was a hit in France in 2014. Two years later it finally crosses the Channel, rejigged with a mix of English and French-language singing.

The drag-queen inspiration is reflected by lyrics that question notions of sexuality and gender — “She’s a man now,” Letissier choruses on the opening track — but the music is less flamboyant than its back story might suggest.

Songs benefit from restrained electronic production, at once moody and catchy: the 1980s synth-pop touches in “iT” are reminiscent of a more reflective La Roux. There are a pair of well-judged guest appearances, by US rapper TunjiIge on the R&B-accented “No Harm Is Done” and US indie balladeer Mike “Perfume Genius” Hadreas on “Jonathan”, each a contrasting foil to Letissier’s languid tones.

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