Oh, and quite why the band are depicted wearing nylon stockings over their heads on the back cover is anybody’s guess; I’d say there’s definitely a reason and a Utopian one at that.
Feu Thérèse – Ca Va Cogner
Golly mick, I didn't expect this, a mish-mash of styles and approach, and a band attitude that seems to be orbiting Earth. It's a brilliantly over-ambitious, pompous record, Utopian in its sound, (reminding one very much in equal parts of Kraftwerk, Cluster, Magma and Jean Michelle Jarre). Oh, and quite why the band are depicted wearing nylon stockings over their heads on the back cover is anybody's guess; I'd say there's definitely a reason and a Utopian one at that.
The opener A Nos Amours is a wonderful collage of steel band-style synths, African guitar runs and scattered beats, never allowing the listener to guess what the contents of this album are. You have to keep on listening. Things get slightly less unhinged with Visage Sous Nylon; a relentless travelogue, not a million miles away from early Simple Minds. Following that, Les Déserts Des Azures is as good a Harmonia/Cluster rip-off as you're likely to hear these days, with playful tinkling keyboard runs and meditative drumming augmenting a glimmering synth backdrop.
All ethereal matters are put to one side as Feu Thérèse get dirty with Le Bruit Du Pollen La Nuit, which is a fabulous groove using an old glam beat (recently used to some success by Goldfrapp) and the kind of vocals out of Kraftwerk's Die Stimme der Energie on their Radio Activity LP. It's a brilliant adaptation of ideas and a track just begging to be played at a discothèque near you.
After this pummelling we get a couple of brilliantly woozy tracks in Nada and Ca Va Cogner, where things threaten to go all lounge-y and spacey on us. Ca Va Cogner has something of mid period New Order about it's keyboard refrain, though a New Order writing for blockbuster films... Elsewhere Les Enfants (there had to be a track called Les Enfants didn't there?) is as reflective as you could wish, whereas Ferrari en Feu momentarily returns to the steel band sound before morphing into a JMJarre/lounge-style work out. The epic La Nuit Est Une Femme restores some calm with it's stately progress, though it does have it's slightly menacing moments. Finally Laissez Briller Tes Yeaux Dans Le Soleil gets all Utopian on us, it's like entrance music for some Grande Masque.
It's a tremendous LP. Seek it out.
Words: Richard Foster