Boom Biddy Boom
Its probably fair to say that Clemence Freschard is still not a household name in this country, more's the pity. People might know her from her excellent, show stealing work with Stanley Brinks and David Tattersall (she featured heavily on Tattersall's debut solo album Happy For A While and sung lead on its best track "I Saw Your Hair Between The Trees"). Freschard was born in France, lived in Paris and New York, and currently resides in Berlin so we should expect a certain musical pedigree. This album got a limited release earlier in the year (it was bigged up by David Tattersall in our Broken Record feature) but is now getting a much deserved vinyl treatment from the ever reliable WIAIWYA label. In many ways this record plays like an Adam Green LP, and in other ways a lo-fi Back To Black, a modern re-imagining of the US jazz greats. The distinction is particularly apparent of brass tinkering songs like "Investigate" and "Hedgehog Walk" which muster up images of smoky backroom jazz clubs and the dodgy characters that inhabit them. The lyrics, and in fact the whole vocal delivery seem innocent and carefree and first, but once you scratch the surface there's usually a cutting underbelly of woe. I think the things that works best here though, are the downbeat and reflective tracks like "And The Rain", which is brought to life by some simple piano and a short (but sweet) guitar solo and "I Miss You" which is pretty self explanatory but expertly crafted for max gut wrenching impact (also with excellent guitar solo, presumably courtesy of Mr Brinks). "Sweet Sweet South" is another highlight in which Freschard breaks from her standard vocal range to produce some homely self-harmonising in a picture postcard ode to an unspecified, but fondly remembered time and place. Ending with another masterful melancholic number, "Where Did You Go" the album is a much needed lesson in the art of understated simplicity.