French band HER revealed last month they will come to an end after a farewell show in Paris next February. The announcement comes after member Simon Carpentier died of cancer last year at 27, leaving band mate Victor Wolf to finish their first album and tour by himself. “I had promised Simon that I would release our album and finish the tour. After that, I will be closing this chapter of my life and start something new, a solo project. It’s only a goodbye.” said Wolf on social media.
Before HER, the artists were the Popopopos, a new-wave band born in their secondary school in Rennes. The electro duo created a dreamy atmosphere using synths. Their distinct harmonies were already noticeable on tracks such as “My Mind Is Old.” Their 2013 album Swell was refreshing for a French audience while also sonically reminiscent of British bands from the 70s. HER was created two years later, named after the feminist cause. With just one album mixing soul-pop and electro-rock, they succeeded to create their own original musical style, eclectic, yet consistent.
The music video of sensual track Five Minutes starts as a black and white close-up on female lips saying: “The Woman doesn’t exist but there are women. There isn’t a woman who can represent The Woman. To talk about one of them, we would need all of them.” Most of their songs are centered around their love of women and defending them. “Swim” featuring ZéFIRE and a jazzy-blues saxophone, depicts a Jeanne d’Arc in black and white advancing through the storm. “Swim against the tide / Walk against the flow,” the chorus tells us. Less famous but nonetheless precious is song “Jeanie J”, present in their second EP “HER Tape #2.” The track sees the duo’s voices at their most harmonized. Like a daydream, it envelopes listeners, feeling as if time is suspended. “Blossom Roses” shows their croonier side with the two clacking their fingers against a slow melody lengthening electric guitar notes.
HER’s next music videos unfortunately don’t star Carpentier as he passed away in August 2017. His absence is heavily felt in the song “Choose” where Wolf sings: “Our wings are broken / But we’ll keep on gliding.” The slow tracking of the camera reinforces the void left by his soulmate’s disappearance. “On and On”, another recent hit of HER, showed how diverse the band could be, featuring famous French rapper Romeo Elvis and the German pop-rock band AnnenMayKantereit. Here the theme is the impact of social media in our daily life. Their last song “Icarus” starts as an acapella singing: “You’re still a part of me / But I am on the other side.” The woman from “Swim” reappears while more worrying and dissonant notes are played.
Though HER isn’t about to release new songs, we have no worries that the new solo career of Wolf will keep exploring music genres with modernism.