Aquaserge - Laisse Ca Etre album review

French collective channel Zappa, Stereolab and a roofied Tom Waits.

Aquaserge - Laisse Ca Etre album artwork

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Since they formed in 2005, this Toulouse unit have been a notable presence on the French underground music scene.

They’ve finally settled into a five-piece form, and while their new album title translates roughly as ‘Let it be’, Aquaserge give short shrift to the traditional songcraft of The Beatles. This is experimental avant-pop that draws on Canterbury prog, free jazz and a smattering of world music, all with a certain je ne sais quoi. Stereolab and Zappa come to mind on the insistent, brass-blasted Tour Du Monde and the irresistible, crunchy Tintin On Est Bien Mon Loulou, which meanders like a Hot Rat through its many keys and time signatures avec xylophones and lovely percussive French vocals. Clarinetist Manon Glibert takes a solo on the gorgeously light Si Loin, Si Proche, its unpredictable woodwind/brass parts thrillingly satisfying. Audrey Ginestet’s bass playing is a treat, off-meter on the Air-like Virage Sud, funky on the deceptively tight C’est Pas Tout Mais. Charme D’Orient is like a pissed tango, its form and melodic lines subverted by a woozy, Mogadon-slow tempo – Piazzolla meets Pet Sounds, a roofied Tom Waits. It’s all very clever, cool, gleefully niche stuff.

Grant Moon

A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Prog, Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.