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27 November 2009

Pierre Bensusan - '2' (Rounder)

A shaggy-haired Frenchman, hello! You have brought us what I assume is a second album of traditional French folk songs accompanied with acoustic guitar and occasionally more - bagpipes, flutes, and strings. The dark overtones of these few cuts make the album a winner, even if a warp renders 'La Danse Du Capricorne I' unplayable. But strangely, the side 1 counterpart, 'Belle Je M'En Vais En Allemagne' plays fine -- maybe the bagpipes' gothic misery forces my stylus to stay on target. On the instrumentals, Bensusan turns on precise points - this is all Appollonian, friends. 'Le Lendemain de La Fete' is a great title ('The Day After the Night Before') and the liner notes remark on this, but it doesn't hold a candle to 'The Flax in Bloom' or other cuts. I like Bensusan - always meaning to check out his other records, since they're easy to come by -- but I'm not sure why. His voice is confident, Gallic of course, but not particularly amazing. His playing is solid, certainly nothing to scoff at, but there's nothing to really mark him as an exemplery neo-folk dude. I guess this scores an 'above average' in every category, to the point where the overall score, not that I actually assess records in a Pitchfork-like manner, but you know what I mean, is high enough to make me appreciate it. Apologies for the shitty mobile phone photo, but Google was fruitless in bringing up this cover -- all of the other ones seems to be some green alternate cover. I'm not sure if you can tell from this resolution but that's actually a drawing, a stunning portrait by Patrick Alexandre that casts Bensusan as a folk hero much like a heavy metal artist would portray some 80s band. I love it.

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