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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Les Frites Petites Vol 1

Back in the eighties there was a kids programme called 'Why Don't You?' that strangely asked young viewers to turn off their television sets and go and do something else less boring instead.
That oxymoron was the catalyst to the space/time continuum folding in on itself that led to George Lucas deciding that making some Star Wars prequels was a good idea, but on the plus side it also subconsciously cemented the DIY concept into the heads of some West Lothians who have now dubbed their loose collective of artists as the small fries, or Les Frites Petites, and self released a very impressive compilation that showcases all their talents.

Starting off with adullboy with his expertly balanced take on remembering the eighties that juxtaposes the care free attitudes of being a kid at the time with larger worldly issues it sets the bar high, but the fantastically named Wullie Mammoth isn't backwards about coming forwards as he takes the baton and runs with the looped 'The Factory part 1' that then gives way for Combie with his revitalizing of the indie guitar sound of Britpop with 'I kissed the Sun'.
Three tacks in and as locally birthed compilations go this one hasn't managed to put a foot wrong, and Lovers Turn To Monsters doesn't intend to let the quality dip on his watch.
Introspective singer/songwriters are pretty much ten a penny, but with 'Skeletor' being put up for consideration it would be churlish not to create some space for Lovers Turn To Monsters to shine in.
Ryan Morcombe could shelter under the same wide umbrella term of acoustic troubadour, but with each artist revealing their own individual take on what that is, all he does is expand our understanding of how inclusive that one man, or a woman, and a guitar sound can be.
There's a wealth of approaches that can be taken, and pretty much any style of song can be framed with just a guitar, and similarly The Boy With The Lion Head extols the virtue of 'the same again, but different' ethos that's embedded in this release.
With Craig Weir there's a home taping demo element creeping in, but that's not to say that he's posted in a less than worthy track for inclusion.
If we imagined that everyone did a session on a specific day then it just sounds like Craig is the guy who couldn't make it and had to record elsewhere and was out of the loop with the project.
Ross Mitchell on the other hand delivers at the other end of the spectrum with a fully fleshed out 'New York' that could be a Bruce Hornsby out take
Brian Gatens takes it back to a more simplistic approach with 'Only Been A Week' and draws attention to his own strengths as a vocalist with a warm delivery of the song.
Kick The Hornets Nest are the first band who instill a bit of a punky vibe into the compilation with what sounds like a song that's been stripped down from being originally a heads down rifftastic splurge of guitar driven US styled pop punk with a bite.
I would hazard a guess that Electrolite took their name from REM, and if that is the case then it's no surprise that the Georgian band hover like a ghost over the song, but along with them there's something of Morrissey in there to.
It's a potent mix and as they are the first full band playing electrically the songs stands out and draws the ear.
Taking on the closing track Andy Robertson finishes the first volume with a very accomplished take on the celtic folk sound that cements his name as someone that those who gravitate to that style should file away as worthy of further investigation.

It's actually rare to get a DIY compilation that could be described as all killer and no filler, but here's an exception to the rule.

Free here.

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