Album Review

Justine “Langages Fantastiques” [Ambiances Magn’tiques]

cujo   4/5/2006   A Library, CD

This 1994 album opens with a wailing klezmer-tinged sax solo that leads into a stumbling snowball ostinato jam. It revisits the sax solo, returns to the stumbling jam, then decides to calm down for a bit while singers sling syllables around. Then a kitten starts tap dancing on the keyboard; this turns out to be the bridge which leads back to a modified version of the jam. The track ends with the lead singer pronouncing ‘I am only an ant but also a grasshopper!?.

Expect of a lot more of this ADD-riddled frog-rock from this female quartet, a French-Canadian offshoot of Wondeurbrass. Sax, keyboard, drums, and bass. They don’t hold a single musical thread idea for more than a minute; no better example is found than the seesawing between the circus tune and the woman screeching her love for beans on Vidanges Domestiques. Most tracks feature nonsensical French lyrics; most of the rest feature gibberish syllables that approach scat. Some come off as Beat performance pieces, like Vie de Famille, where one of the girls sing-recites banal text while keyboards, sax, drums, and wailings respond with random plunking. They don’t sing great, but do they really need to? One gripe: the keyboard sounds terrible when in ‘piano? mode.

It only calms down for the final track, an accordion-backed love song for Marguerite.

-Cujo, KFJC, March 2006

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