DIY Album

Tales of dark romance and doomed love / album review from Songlines

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Here is the complete review we got in Songlines issue n.93 last July. We’re extremely proud to have been reviewed in such a prestigious review… and even got 4 stars **** !

Tales of dark romance and doomed love

This album has nothing, as far as one can tell, to do with the town on the Caspian Sea or hats. The core of this album is enjoyably gloomy traditional Breton singing, from the pure voice of Simone Alves with her partner Yann Gourvil in charge of instruments and programming. The duo’s songs are peppered with Celtic myth and legends, but mainly about doomed love and death. A sample lyric, translated from the Breton, as a lover decides to kill himself after his beloved dies « We’ll lie in the same grave since we haven’t in the same bed, we’ll be married in front of God since we haven’t by the priest. » What is unusual, and probably unique is the « oriental » colours added to the songs (the duo lived in Istanbul for a while) with Yann Gourvil playing oud and saz as well are more usual folk instruments.

Stand-out tracks include « 1932 », which is an effective evocation of the misery of a failed harvest when there’s no bread, while « mouezhioù » sounds a little Bulgarian and is an atmospheric song about a woman who bitterly regrets marrying a drunkard. The electronics used on songs like « Kreñv ‘veld ar garantez » are generally subtly interwoven although at time the drum machines stands out, and not in a good way. By the end of this compelling, if at times slightly claustrophobic, record there is a slight sense that some other players would have added a more rich sonic palette. Still, there are some superb songs rendered in an original way, which suggests considerable potential. The cover Art Work is intriguing too.

Track to try : 1932

Peter Culshaw

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