Whoever wrote the bio on David Lemaitre’s website has not done a good job of endearing him to me. Apparently Valediction, the Bolivian songwriter’s debut EP, showcases ‘the lo-fi electronics, intricate guitar and delicate vocals of a master’. Presumably it’s a reference to the English translation of Lemaitre’s surname, but still, it’s a little big-headed. The bio then goes on to say that Valediction’s five tracks ‘might suggest an upbringing in a hip part of Manhattan or an artist community in Paris’. The allusion very nearly stopped me from bothering with Valediction. Which would have been a shame, because it’s actually quite good.

Opener ‘Six Years’ comes on like someone’s given Jose Gonzalez a Macbook and a loop station, which in this case is definitely not a bad thing. Lemaitre’s airy voice, and the string arrangements of the aptly named Philipp the Orchestra (I really hope that’s what his parents call him) are pitched beautifully - even when the song starts to run over five minutes, it retains a sense of strung out melancholy, and doesn’t degenerate into repetitive boredom. Follow up ‘The Incredible Airplane Party’ finds Lemaitre grappling with quirky pop and fluttering, Technicolor samples, whilst ‘Jacques Cousteau’ is by far Valediction’s standout track - its bubbling electric guitar loop and far-off vocals suggest a landscape that the song’s namesake would be familiar with, the chorus hook ‘nothing’s what it seems’ complementing the notion.

However, for all the strength and variety of Valediction’s first three offerings, it does seem that Lemaitre loses the plot a little around ‘In Your Own Sweet Way’. There’s nothing essentially wrong with the song, or the closing title track – they’re both moody, well produced efforts which see Lemaitre relying less on electronics and in more of a pastoral Fionn Regan mode, showcasing his versatility. But conforming to Valediction’s typical, five minutes plus song length doesn’t do them any favours – unlike the EP’s beginnings, these parting shots do tend a little toward overexposure, where perhaps they’d fare better had they stopped a minute or two earlier.

Lemaitre certainly needs to work on his lyricism in places – considered beauty and horrific clunkiness can sit right next to each other in the same song, the darkly moving ‘your mother and your father are getting drunk because they hate each other’ and syntactical nightmare ‘at Megan Fox everybody is glancing’ on ‘The Incredible Airplane Party’ being cases in point. Similarly, the two tracks that close the EP don’t command one’s attention as much as those that precede them, swapping warm, homespun electronics for the same six strings that anybody who’ll enjoy Lemaitre will already be familiar with, and for two minutes too long. But for a debut release, Valediction is a subtle, gently forlorn effort which certainly shows that whilst Lemaitre might not yet be the ‘master’ that his bio proclaims him to be, he certainly has the potential to release some interesting and affecting contributions to the canon of his chosen sound.