Sunday, 24 November 2013

CARAVAN PALACE - ALBUM REVIEW

Caravan Palace - Panic (Dramatico Entertainment) 
Caravan Palace - Panic

Release Date: 2nd December 2013

So apparently French electro swing is a thing now and Caravan Palace are hot on the heels of Parov Stelar (not technically French but who's counting?) in terms of pushing this new genre to the forefront. The Caravan Palace collective have been touring relentlessly with their electro take on swing, jazz and gypsy jazz and "Panic" is the culmination of all this touring in 18 tracks of fun. Kicking off with 'Queens' and the slightly 90s feeling fun of 'Maniac, Caravan Palace set their stall out for fun and you can almost see the circus performers and burlesque dancers trouping in to join them. 'The Dirty Side Of The Street' is particularly manic whilst '12 Juin 3049' is a distinctly laid back, river side ode to the distant future. Alvin and the Chipmunks are apparently the guest vocalists on 'Rock It For Me' but 'Clash' is a stand out track which sounds like the Puppini Sisters remixed by Bentley Rhythm Ace with Bernard Cribbins on guest vocals - yes, it is that bonkers.

'Newbop' takes things back to a more laid back vibe (nobody could maintain that pace) with Django Reinhardt inspired guitars and a bouncy, dubby beat underneath. There is a marmite moment on 'The Glory Of Nelly' as dreamy guitars and chimes mix with TLC style rapping that I'm still not sure whether I like but then I'm never sure whether I like Marmite so I'm probably not the best judge. As song titles go, 'Dramophone' is pretty ace and the bassline is plenty squelchy, meanwhile 'Cotton Heads' is Lemon Jelly-esque in its bleepy-bloopy delights. Delish. Title track 'Panic' is glitchy, scratchy piece of hyperactivity while the melody on 'Pirates' is pure summer morning fun. Another stand out tune is 'Beatophone' that has a bassline that would turn heads at traffic lights and stands out from the general hum drum of the chart obsessed dance world. The album proper finishes with the Winehouse meets Piaf lilt of 'Sydney' as the bars spill out on to the Parisian streets and the cobbles resonate with the chatter of laughter and the pronouncements of love. Then follows a spicy remix of 'Dramophone' and three different versions of 'Clash', including a huge sounding live version from a hometown gig that hints towards the power these guys must wield in the live arena. So, wax that moustache, pop in a monocle and crack those glow sticks: French Electro Swing is here to stay, daaahhhhling.


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