Action Biker : Hesperian Puisto (Friendly Noise)
Difficult to describe the bonfire that burned inside me after hearing the first 2 songs of this newly released debut album by long time fave bedroom electropop wonder Action Biker. The kind of feeling you have when you understand your humble expectations will be far more than fulfilled, when you understand you gonna be blown away.
Fine, why not mentionning a few songs now ? "Love for Sure" has exactly that same unconventional and juicy effect as a Bad Dream Fancy Dress song and Sarah's auto-superposed voice is still reinforcing this parallel with Cally & Katz."Refridgerator" just has this little "moog" thing that transforms a common electropop tune into a top notch heady anthem and "Hesperian Puisto" is nothing less than a modern "I'm in love with a German Film Star". On "A fight" Sarah strangely reminds me the phantom of Isabelle Antena. Furthermore, the principle of adding some well-placed short "filler songs" (nearly 1 on 2) gives an additional pleasant relief to the whole bunch...Who said "Colossal Youth" ?
The production has also maturated a bit in respect to the first EP's and compilation songs, it is smooth, clean-cut, with some occasional light-ambient textures of the best effect !
=> Buy the album HERE (along with the great new Splendid Isolation comp) and, if not convinced yet, have a look at this great Digfi session video with 3 songs from the album :
Look how cute they are ! Next week will be the Official Cloetta Paris Week all over the planet !!!! Debut album release has been announced for April 22nd and pre-order has already started on Skywriting Records... first album copies might land at any time any place in the world in the next few days !!!
I don't really know when Roger's wonderful band Nixon will release new stuff again (at least I know it's almost impossible to - officially - buy old stuff today and I secretly hope all his material will be properly reedited soon to replace these bootlegs I own) but, with this tangible debut album release, I now know that Cloetta Paris is more than a side-project, more than a "downloadable hip-song" effect and I feel so excited about it !
Hearing this exclusive brand new killer-song "Secret Eyes" (from the S/T album), I'm asking myself if Cloetta Paris really exists though... We could indeed take Cloetta's voice for a highpitched version of Roger's...But it seems like Miss Paris does exist in real life as Matilda and is one of Roger's best friends ! The fact they use quite a lot of autotune sometimes may cause a bit more artificial feel to it, this must be the reason....
Roger has done exactly what I thought in the past though. In 2005, he released a very secret album as a fake duo, Intellivision, on Swiss europop label Hypersound. It was mainly done as a bit of fun (all vocals that are supposed to sound like female voices are actually Roger's voice on high pitch) but it carries a few amazing tunes like Moskow Moskow or Calling Tokyo, prefiguring today's Cloetta Paris in a funny way...
Update 25/04 : album has landed
If -like me- you're somewhere in between 30 and 40 (hmmm), listening to this album will be like a true come-back to your childhood (not to mention the schoolbook-like cover) : I didn't realize this before, but Cloetta's voice is so close to Michael Cretu's muse Sandra, a tiny bit smoother maybe !! Musically, even if the arrangements are very contemporary, it is full of hints from classical eurodisco stuff I love like P. Lion (the second half of Secret Eyes must be -intentionnally or not - inspired by the "Happy Children" gimmick ) or Baby's Gang (children parts in Beat Street), even literally taking some titles from that era like "Arabian nights" (anyone remembers this song from The Parallel lines ?). Of course, it is including all the hits we were already mad about like "Broken Heart Tango" or "I miss you someone". On the reprise side, the "St Elmo's Fire" has not been selected but there is a very surprising cover of ELO's "So serious". This must be the soundtrack of your retrieved youth.
Cocoanut Groove : The End of the Summer on Bookbinder Road 7" (Phonic Kidnapping Records)
Believe me or not, this 7", the first on PK Records, is already a collector : it is obviously the debut release from an artist of exception, whose first essays speak of great songs yet to be written !!!
S/T A-side, available on You tube since several months now, is nothing but a perfect chamber pop anthem, highlighted by an unwinding piano, an harpsichord tapestry, and a troubling pre-psychedelic beat à la Beau Brummels. And B-side counterpart "Shadow" must not be ashamed of this, with its haunting Donovanesque acoustic-guitar-driven sorrow-overwhelming melody...(have to mention the great artwork by Cameron too by the way)
Olov Antonsson sense of songcraft doesn't suffer any comparison with Curt Boetcher or Arthur Lee and his music is precisely like an intended return to a form of the past : music you can listen to and think about... The album "Madeleine Street" is coming out very soon on Fridlyst label, don't miss it !
Pas Chic Chic ! : Au contraire (Semprini Records)
I've already said how captivating the debut 7" from Montreal band Pas Chic chic ! was, and having a full length debut announced could prove to be a difficult curve to handle... Thanks Lucifer they negotiated this in the ideal way !!!
Defining the musical vs lyrical identity of Pas Chic Chic ! on the basis of those 10 songs is rather difficult as it is totally unique ... I'd say take the motorik feel of the rythm of Neu!, the semi alienated/semi genius side of Tom Zé music, the playful Bruce Haack analogic experiences added with Serge Gainsbourg's double meanings, and you won't be far from the truth...
I already hear some people (especially francophones) say they're snobbish, mannered, pedantic or obscure...F**k no, they're just f*****g BRILLIANT !!!
Pocketbooks : Waking Up EP (Make Do and Mend)
The first track I ever heard from Pocketbooks was "The First World Record" on the HDIF "Kids at the Club" compilation and I must say it didn't make much of an impact on me, lost in between other compilation highlights (and God remembers how numerous they were...)
Retrospectively though, I must say the song WAS part of the comp' highlights and was already showing some good clues on Andy Hudson's writing skills : twirling piano gimmicks, short tempo changes, semi-tortuous verses vs enchanting sing-a-long chorus...
Two years later and after another promising 7" on Atomic Beat, the band has enriched its line-up with some...kids from the club... and is evolving over and over, leaving the early DIY clothing to a more developped sound decorum, a full 5-piece line-up and the sweetest boy/girl harmonies (Emma and Andy's voices do fit particularly well !). Again, this new EP has taken some time to grow on me, which, in this specific case, is a testimony of its asset and intrinsic masked beauty. Go pick it up HERE !