Solal presents - The Moonshine Sessions

2008-02-12 10:26
You could be tempted to dismiss this as yet another yodelling, in-bred country album until the percussion starts and you realise this ain’t your father’s country music.

Rather, it is an outsider’s exploration of and tribute to a genre of music that many people would politely tell to bugger off. The outsider is Philippe Cohen Solal, one half of the Gotan Project, a French folktronica duo known for their tango-inspired tunes. For many years fascinated by the sounds of the South, he brought together session players from Nashville to create this soft and gentle homage.
The production is minimalist without being dull, traditional without being cliché. Songs like “Psycho Girls & Psycow Boys” with its Beck-esque double beat and quirky lyrics and the gruff yet sweet “Luna’s Song” remind you that this is a modern album. The highlight of the album is definitely a cover of ABBA’s disco hit “Dancing Queen” which has been stripped of all its wondrous hooks and delivered in sugary hues by Melonie Cannon. It reaffirms just how good the original is, returning to it a sense of innocence. A cover of the Sex Pistol’s “Pretty Vacant” is rendered in a rather Morcheeba-like voice, a refreshing change to the typical-sounding country singers.

A few songs go a tad too far into cowboy country but they only add to the atmosphere being evoked. Pretty and unadorned, this album makes for relaxing listening.

- Philip Langley

Sitting on a front porch in Tennessee while crickets and birds chirp in the background; a bottle of moonshine in hand. The hot summer evening is joined by the characteristic twang of a Hawaiian slide guitar, a strumming banjo and a harmonica.

What to read next: Kalahari

Fiamma 2008/02/21 3:29 PM
The Moonshine Sessions This is one of the best albums I've heard in ages. Just brilliant.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.