Monday, 22 September 2008

Francois Virot - Yes or No (Half Machine Records 2008)

Half Machine Recordings are setting themselves up to be an awesome label where even the more obscure stuff is worth checking because it has their seal of approval behind it. This is where Rough Trade and Domino find themselves a ce moment. Oui, j'ai dit quelque chose en Francaise, parce que Francois Virot est un grenouille.

This album is perfectly autumn. I listened to it cycling through Regent's Canal and Stoke Newington yesterday and it was a great soundtrack for the juxtaposition of slowly moving water with shopping trolleys poking out, and for urban decay tangoing with hipsters.

Like Beirut, Francois Pirot uses a lot of sharply strummed instruments and organic percussion to drive his songs about isolation and about togetherness and about everything turning, turning, turning. His brand of freak-folk-psych-folk-nu-folk-conti-folk-al melodies and dreamy dissonance as his voice breathily whispers over the top is like Thurston Moore fronting a Devendra Banhart acoustic album. There are moments of bliss-filled etherea and god-bothering hysteria on this brilliant sweet and alt-real album. With handclaps, percussive rhythms and well-strummed guitars underlying a warbly fuzzy but most definitely European vocal, this is worth checking. Francois Virot should be as big as Devendra Banhart judging by this album, and let's hope he is!

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