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EVERYBODY WAS IN THE FRENCH RESISTANCE NOW! Fixin' The Charts Vol.One Cooking Vinyl COOKCD512 (2010)

Everybody Was In the French Resistance Now!

Just how far you can go with parody record is a question that I suspect this album will answer fairly quickly. 'Everybody was in the French Resistance..Now! - Fixin' the Charts - Vol. One' will either catch on quickly with the long time Art Brut fans or it will sink swiftly. For this collection of 11 songs stretches the art of parody rather thinly. Once you get past the sing-along single 'G.I.R.F.R.E.N. (You Know I've Got A)', even the musically adept piano line and snappy horns of ('I'm So) Waldo P. Emerson Jones' become subsumed by the law of diminishing returns as the humour palls.

One obvious problem is that Art Brut's Eddie Argos attacks each song with the same kind of spoken word phrasing. In fact look no further than the subtitles to see the shortfall of this project. As on all the songs Argos and Dylan Valdes (Blood Arm) feel the need to subtitle 'The Scarborough Affaire' - 'A Response to Scarborough Fair'. The point is surely that if you don't know the original song to start with then the whole parody will surely pass you by. Things get no better on 'Billie's Genes' a plodding synth led humorous stab at Michael Jackson. And on and on it goes though a harpsichord led Dylan pastiche, a subject who has been far better parodied by the likes of John Otway and Zappa and both of whom at least altered their vocal phrasing to achieve a humorous effect.

Far better is their take on The Crystal early 60's hit 'He's A Rebel' complete with a few girly bv's and lyrics such as;

'He's the kind of boy that I adore
Such a prick,
No he's just insecure',

And there's more

'He's got a side that you don't know,
I'd like to see it, but it's just all show'
'he can be sensitive, he writes poetry
it was just lifted from a Nirvana biography'.

But for the rest the irony is just as one dimensional as the singing if only because the lampooning is so obvious. 'Superglue' sounds like The Stranglers and the whole thing is rounded off by the Scouse anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone', shortened simply to 'Walk Alone'. It opens with a simple voice and piano duet before shifting to a repeated military march and a mock finale which name checks various icons.

At best this album is consistent and fans will probably enjoy the title track as much as the closing 'Walk Alone'. But for the rest of us the prospect of a 'Volume Two' is possibly a step too far for a project with such a one dimensional focus. After all you need more than few clever turns of phrase to make a great and for that matter funny album.


Review by Pete Feenstra


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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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