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INNEKE 23 & THE LIPSTICK PAINTERS Charcoal Corazong (2009)

Inneke 23

A promise of Americana delivered from Europe. Pedal steel, accordion, jew's harp - perhaps not what you'd expect to be exported from Belgium. Beer and chocolate unquestionably, but Inneke 23 & The Lipstick Painters are nevertheless, the real deal.

Opening with Black the band come on like Lynyrd Skynyrd (in a southern country/folk style, of course). Star Car throws the accordion deep into the mix and with lyrical references to Gram Parsons, it's jaunty affair.

The Strangles No More Heroes is a strange inclusion, but works surprisingly well, Inneke delivering her vocals in a gentle, semi spoken easy on the ear country blues style (think early Jewel after a pack of Gauloises, or Sophie Zelmani).

As an album, Charcoal harks back to the CSN era with a west coast feel, tempered by gallic elements such as the European style accordion playing - for example, on the rockabilly I'd rather Be A Fair Play Loser and the jaunty folk of Night At The Crossroads.

It's beautifully played and recorded and the album throws up some particularly memorable moments - in particular, the moody Sweet Headed Girl, the smouldering lust of Your Smile, Olives And Red Wine, and wistful Some Room For The Blues In Your Heart.

Surprisingly good.


Review by Pete Whalley

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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