The last Greetings From Tuskan album was back in 2006; a slightly naive but nonetheless heartfelt album set to inventive electronica. Since then, the lady behind the moniker, Belgium’s Joëlle Phuong Minh Lê, has collaborated with established Canadian alternative/hip-hop performer Buck 65, under the name of Bike For Three!, to rave reviews. Once again, Minh Lê uses love as her theme as she returns to her solo work.
Put simply, if you enjoy rolling piano keys and subtle beats then ‘The Love From Afar’ is definitely worth checking out. The album has a pleasing immediacy exemplified by the slowly unravelling keyboard melody and crisp beats on ‘A Stellar Ascent’ whilst ‘I Wish I Was Stronger’ is a welcome look back to the folktronica scene of a decade ago. On an album where romantic innocence seems to be a common theme, the grand keys and hyperactive beats to ‘Hold Me Tight’ characterise a much more confident-sounding track and from there, Minh Lê evokes happier times including the energetic and stirring stand-out ‘The One I Lost’. As the album progresses, though, even if Minh Lê never falters in her search for a tune, a certain emotional detachment may be experienced by the listener as one pleasant instrumental follows another and perhaps it would have been worth cutting out the odd track here and there or adding a guest vocal.
It may not set hearts a-flutter or be particular demanding on the brain but ‘The Love From Afar’ is a bright and colourful instrumental album which is unrelenting in its quest for melody. Therefore, it’s a very worthwhile return from Minh Lê, infused by hope and romance and with a new Bike For Three! release due soon, there is much for her to be joyful about.
Melorman, Bike For Three, Minotaur Shock