Lovely, mellow bossa nova track. Coralie Clement is the sister of Benjamin Biolay, who wrote almost all the songs on the album and produced, arranged and played a variety of instruments on it. There's a timeless quality about this song, certainly due to the fact the arrangement is simply impeccable and delicate and Coralies whispery, rather flat but warm, sensual voice sounds like a cross between Astrud Gilberto, Claudine Longet and Jane Birkin. The whole record is a quite a gem.
from Salle des pas perdus, available on CD (Capitol)
Zoot Woman is basically the child of Les Rhythmes Digitales' Jaques Lu Cont aka Stuart Price. They emerged with a sound as if the 90s never happened, even daring to cover "The Model" by Kraftwerk on the album, and they sound so confident with their 80s sound as if sounding like Hall & Oates at times is just nothing to be ashamed of nowadays. "Jessie" is pure melodic 80s pop sounding, without being tongue-in-cheek about it.
When mentioning Swing Out Sister casual listeners often dismiss them as forgettable, mere 80s martini pop kitsch. Or worse, one hit wonders due to the fact that their 1987 offering Breakout is still, by far, their biggest single hit. But this is completely wrong. In fact, they're enjoying an ongoing career for almost 20 years, recording 8 studio albums. Nowadays they’re fitting a niche no other group fits in so comfortably: escapist, late 60s oriented sophisticated glamorous easy listening pop music with all the right influences that spring to mind of that era: Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Webb, John Barry, late 60s european soundtracks in general, Ennio Morricone specifically and sunshine pop. Since these guys aren't necessarily household names in mainstream pop culture today, Swing Out Sister were practically invisible from the mid 90s on in Europe and the USA, releasing their records primarily in Japan, where easy listening music still gets the biggest exposure. The Sisters’ 2001 album “Somewhere deep in the night” is their most cinematic, most elegant and visually evocative album to date, where the Bacharach/Barry/Morricone spirit is prevailing the most: 60s arrangements with Bacharach-oriented songwriting, Barry-esque lush strings, Morricone-style harpsicord, saxophone, harps, jazzy guitars, muted trumpets, fluegelhorn, wordless vocals, blending vocal songs with atmospheric instrumentals, creating an imaginary soundtrack. The whole album is a truly underrated gem.
from Somewhere Deep In The Night, available on CD
17 Jun 04 ·jeanette: I have to say I am thoroughly delighted at learning of the continued career of SOS. I always had time for them, and thought Breakout was actually the weakest of the singles I heard. I particularly remember liking 'Fooled By A Smile' and 'You On My Mind'.
Hearing the snippets of these songs here, I can say I'm intrigued enough to try and seek out some of this later work. It reminds me of the more produced end of Siesta records' (Spanish easy-pop label) output. 18 Jun 04 ·eftimihn: You probably should try "Shapes and Patterns" from 1997 first, it's pretty much in the vein of 1989's "Kaleidoscope World" and thus a good starting point to rediscover SOS. This and the aforementioned "Somewhere Deep In The Night" (2001) as well.
In his home country France Benjamin Biolay often is praised as the "nouveau Gainsbourg", he's a singer, songwriter, arranger, producer, orchestrator and plays various instruments. His debut album "Rose Kennedy" shows the impact "Histoire de Melody Nelson" had on him, as this is also conceived as a concept album. The track "Rose Kennedy" sounds very 60's in its instrumentation and feel, with lush, rich strings, warm Fender Rhodes keyboard, gentle and dreamlike vocals with a sparse dose of electronica and some samples thrown in.
from Rose Kennedy, available on CD
10 Jun 05 ·nighteye: Can you call him the french version of Scott Walker? This song reminds me of some of Walkers songs from the '60s, and what a great song 'Rose Kennedy' is. I love the strings and Biolay's deep voice.
The basic track, as heard on their album "Quiet Is The New Loud", is pretty minimal with just acoustic guitars, bass and drums. For the single release they added wonderfully lush strings arranged by David Whitaker, transforming the rather autumnal, Simon & Garfunkel-esque track into a lighter, brighter, well, more "Monte Carlo 1963" sounding song.