Antoine93 cites Céline Dion as an important influence. In another context this might seem like of hip posturing, the invertedly-edgy appropriation of the very middle of the pop mainstream. Coming from a fellow Québécois, backed by this charged, direct music, it comes across as the convincing sublimation of a pop superstar with a supremely MOR reputation.
As exemplified by lead single "Extra Strong" Maybe Unlock My Heart is as full of classic House synth leads, as it is up-to-the-minute retro-digital chimes, bleeps, and swoops that echo both UK dance sounds and Vaporwave. Yet Antoine93 seems far less interested in genre tributes or complexly folded ironic topographies than in crafting intimate dialogues, confident declarations of identity, and other beguiling pop confessionals. Appropriately, the element even more striking than the bright and punchy production is Antoine's voice, whether singing of drugs, doubt, or self-discovery. Indeed, Antoine93 might have the most combined talent as producer, singer and songwriter we've heard since Matthew Dear or perhaps Autre Ne Veut'.
It's this balancing of careful, creative sound design with heartfelt songwriting and delivery that makes Maybe Unlock My Heart a vibrant and fun record, even when it dwells, as Antoine93 says, not only on love but on depression and insanity. The invocation of Céline Dion is no mistake, this is a Pop record. But it's one that withstands heavy repeated listening, making nonsense of the term "guilty pleasure" What's there's to be guilty about here?