Boomkat Product Review:
Unexpected and lokey brilliant Elvis covers from french troubadour David Fenech and cult instrument builder and composer Pierre Bastien.
As you might expect from the names involved, their take on Elvis is radically oblique and serves to reset the coiffed rock ’n roll god’s legacy in a much smokier, Gallic light. As that implies, the songs are relatively straight-played - they’re not taking the piss - but completely drained of hip-thrust and Brylcreem and replaced in a starker, noirish mise-en-scene, limned by Pierre Bastien's unusual but excellent use of prepared trumpet, and given shape and texture by Fenech’s arrangements, which relate as much to his work with avant crooner Ghédalia Tazartès as they do to a sequin-clad Presley.
Trust that, beyond some avant working men’s club in Durham or David Lynch’s most fetid fantasies, you’ve never heard Elvis songs quite like this before. Drawing for the biggest hits, Fenech & Bastien exert singular spin on the originals, variously morphing ‘Fever’ into an experimental jazz club hush, and reducing ‘Jailhouse Rock’ to creepy vapours and bass thrum, while adapting the feel of ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ to something like a music box lullaby, and dialling down ‘Love Me Tender’ to its barest essence of heart-broken blues, while centrepiece ’Suspicious Minds’ is wholly transported Eastwards to recall a fantasy jam between CS + Kreme and Coil in a Bangkok jazz bar where daylight does not penetrate. Og and then there’s that water-boarded version of ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’, with Bastien bleating his trumpet into a bucket of water.
Quiet simply it’s a hugely enjoyable and charming album, certain to strike with fans of everyone from Lewis to Suicide, Nurse With Wound to The Caretaker and beyond.