La Force, the fascinating solo project of Ariel Engle, released a critically acclaimed second album, ‘XO SKELETON’ this Autumn and today she unveils a music video for “outrun the sun.”
The video for “outrun the sun” was directed by two faithful collaborators of Engle – Sara Melvin and Ali Vanderkruyck – in scorching hot locations in the Californian Anthropocene.
“The video for “outrun the sun’”explores the pride and arrogance of humanity, which thinks it can fool Mother Nature. Instead of a vital force, the sun is turning into something that makes us fear for our lives,” say the directors.
“Thanks to animation and an infrared drone, the perspective shifts between the runner (La Force) and the stalker (the sun). We shot in arid places like the Sepulveda Dam, an abandoned open-air location. Among the hot concrete and dried weeds, Ariel and our small crew were overheating, sweating, covered in dust. In the Californian Anthropocene, we experienced the issues addressed in the song in real time.”
XO SKELETON by La Force has been well-received – MOJO, Rolling Stone France, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, Clash Magazine, NYLON, The Fader, BBC6 Music, Exclaim! and more have praised it. Exclaim! declared: “La Force’s Ariel Engle creates ruminative, unclassifiable pop music as haunting as its subject matter – ★★★★», MOJO (UK) and Rolling Stone Germany also gave it a rating of ★★★★, and La Presse gave it a ★★★ ½. It was included in CBC Music Fall Guide: 19 new releases you need to hear, and the 12 Quebec albums to hear this Fall from Journal de Montréal.
The album is supple, steady, uncanny: a mixture of haunted pop and hot-blooded R&B that glistens at the meeting point between life, death, and love. The album was coproduced by La Force and Warren Spicer (Plants and Animals). “The theme of the album revealed itself in the making,” she explains, recalling how the title track is rooted in a telephone call with her life-insurance broker—one everyday banality on the periphery of death. “At one point she said, ‘God forbid you should die.’ I was gobsmacked. ‘Well, there’s one thing guaranteed: no god or goddess is going to keep me alive.’”
Born and based in Montreal, La Force made her electrifying studio debut on Broken Social Scene’s 2017 album Hug of Thunder. The following year, Engle released La Force, garnering a Polaris Music Prize long-list nomination and drawing attention from Stereogum, The Globe & Mail, and NPR’s “Morning Becomes Electric,” as well as The National’s Aaron Dessner, who recruited Engle to appear on the new Big Red Machine LP alongside Bon Iver, Taylor Swift, Fleet Foxes and Sharon Van Etten. Engle was also invited to contribute to the recent album by Patrick Watson, who used their collaboration as the lead single on 2022’s Better In The Shade. Engle recently released a critically acclaimed (★★★★ – MOJO) album part of ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT, Engle’s drone/modular synth/voice team-up with Godspeed You! Black Emperor founder Efrim Manuel Menuck. Engle has appeared on stage with the likes of Maggie Rogers, Martha Wainwright, Leif Vollebekk, The Barr Brothers and more.
LA FORCE – NEW VIDEO FOR: “OUTRUN THE SUN”
NEW ALBUM: ‘XO SKELETON’
STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE
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Praise for ‘XO SKELETON’
“[…] we discover a vibrant, powerful world, which lifts us up and comforts us, while also including surprises and getting heavier at times. It’s a lot for one album, but that is the strength of La Force.” 7.5/10 – La Presse (CA)
“La Force gives us magnificent pop and R&B songs shot through with melancholy and introspection, which focus on the universal themes of life, death and love.” – Journal de Montréal (CA)
“XO Skeleton stands out […] by showcasing the singer’s gorgeous voice, effortlessly combining indie pop and soul.” ★★★ 1/2 – Le Devoir (CA)
“[…] Engle is such an evocative singer that she imbues these songs with a gravitas that belies their fragility […] Engle has such a confident melodic sensibility […] her vocals transcend everything that is happening around them. Ariel Engle is a talent to be appreciated on her own, not just as a member of another project.” – Northern Transmission (CA)
“While the songs on XO Skeleton are intimate and sometimes gutting, there’s so much life in them that together the pop and R&B tracks make a dance record anyway — just one that might make you cry while shaking all the feelings out.” – CBC Music (CA)
“La Force’s Ariel Engle creates ruminative, unclassifiable pop music as haunting as its subject matter” ★★★★ – Exclaim ! (CA)
“La Force confirms the English-speaking, lo-fi and intimate indie pop vein” ★★★ – Rolling Stone France
“Engle sets the emotional controls for the heart of the moon, stirring up gothy atmospheres […] The Bat For Lashes smoke-and-mirrors of Outrun The Sun and How Do You Love A Man’s minimal Lana Del Rey moves are supple pop, saxophone and synth supporting Engle’s taste for theatre. All the ethereal turmoil, though, can’t mask XO Skeleton’s good songwriting bones.” ★★★ – MOJO (UK)
“the sound of an artist moving deliberately towards evolution.” – Clash Magazine (R.-U.)
“accomplished, passionate and slick.” – BBC6 Music (UK)
“Engle delivers a singular and spectral version of R&B, laced with the sparseness of Young Marble Giants with catharsis and yearning bursting from every note of her immaculate vocals.” – The Fader (US)
“Over nimbly plucked guitar and jazzy horns, her rich voice sounds like pulling over an old knit sweater as she sings about watching the cyclical decay of animals and plants” – NYLON Magazine (US)
“Mesmerising… Engle’s new album is a treasure trove of delights, taking in everything from spectral R&B to haunted pop. It also has a rare kind of intimacy which pulls you further into her world.” – Crack (UK)
“Rebirth of folk from the spirit of dance-pop… ‘XO Skeleton’ is full of finely woven textures” ★★★★ – Rolling Stone Germany
“Her vocals are full-bodied, at once commanding and caressing. The smoky, lyrical bass is something mid-70s Joni Mitchell would have given a big thumbs up, while the sax abstractions bring to mind the most affecting moments in Bon Iver’s fusion of folk and soul-searching electronica.” – Journal de Montréal (QC) – Shindig (UK)
“XO SKELETON is a gorgeously contemplative record that’s haunted by the weight and complexity of its subject matter – death, memory, planetary orbits – but steadies its gaze on the ordinary” – Our Culture Mag (UK)