Bonsoir, Catin “L’Aurore” (Valcour Records)

The question of what does it mean to be a modern Cajun band is answered on Bonsoir, Catin’s L’Aurore.

Without daring to confine themselves, the band members Christine Balfa, Anya Burgess, Maegan Berard, Kristi Guillory and Danny Devillier build layers of rhythm around the poetry of Guillory and new member Ashley Hayes (veteran of Feufollet, Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys). The pair strings together a narrative of losing love and finding it where they shouldn’t. They keep to Cajun song structure but with a more poetic modern edge: “I put my knees to the floor before you came/ I paid for my sins a long time ago,” Hayes writes on “‘Tit Ange Sur Mon Épaule.” The record starts by swirling together dreamy alt-country and pop with a beauty worthy of Neko Case’s “Deep Red Bells.” “L’aurore” and “Si Loin” form a two-song suite of what might be the first classical arrangements in the genre. On its way out, “Je t’oublie”—featuring guest vocals by Roddie Romero and keys by Eric Adcock—brings piano to the forefront, which adds to its intimate quality.

In “The Squirrel Song” after a brightly colored intro pulled from Blur and Broken-era Nine Inch Nails collaboration, Bonsoir, Catin unleashes a raucous and earthy foot stomper that is sure to be a live favorite. Closer to home, they cover “All Night Long” by Clifton Chenier and the traditional “Cher Minoux,” and touch on BeauSoleil’s style with “J’ai vu Lucille.”

L’Aurore’s tracks are all fresh and well-built no matter the style the band was exploring at the moment. Here, Bonsoir, Catin is not redefining themselves but evolving without ever asking, “Are you sure Aldus Roger done it this way?”