Tucson-based French chanteuse Marianne Dissard calls this
her “in-between” record, a live-in-the-studio set featuring songs from her 2008
recording, L’Entredeux, and her
upcoming late-2010 release L’Abandon.
Recorded in Paris, the download-for-free One
Takes only includes four new tracks among its 14, so it’s mostly a showcase
for her excellent touring band, which includes members of Mostly Bears
(guitarist/vocalist Brian Lopez and bassist Geoff Hidalgo) and Calexico/Y La
Orkestra (drummer/pianist Sergio Mendoza).
The band is stupid-tight coming off 30 dates in one month,
but Dissard remains center-stage while integrating with the others sans seams. Her smoky voice is capable
of bedroom seduction and temper-tantrum passion, and all the Gallic stops in
between; she sounds as urgent as Patti Smith, as indifferent as Nico, and as
sexy as Nancy Sinatra. The instrumental star may be Olivier Samouillan, whose
viola/violin colors these songs in various shades of romance, eroticism,
exoticism, nostalgia and fury. Samouillan’s strings shadow Lopez’ desert-noir
guitar on the Joey Burns/Dissard-penned “Le Lendemain,” adding a plangent Dirty
3 feel, while on the sultry bedroom waltz “Les Draps Sourd,” he sounds like
Stephane Grappelli dueling with Link Wray rather than Django. Samouillan even
incorporates the instrument into the psychedelic garage rock rave-up “Trop
Expres” through various scratches and scrapes, and grabs the mandolin to
further twang up the country rocker “Sans-Facon” without making you once think
“bluegrass.” Lopez, too, is a revelation, morphing his guitar sound into
whatever the songs call for and adding emotive-yet-slick fills all over the
shop. He also sings compelling harmonies, and his English counterparts to
Dissard’s French on Mendoza’s
lament “It’s Love” and his own, first-blush love song “El Pajaro Y El Ciervo” make
already good tracks great.
Those are two of the four new cuts here, and they all
suggest that the excellent L’Entredeux was no fluke, and maybe even just a first step toward even greater things. How
do you say “can’t hardly wait” in French, anyway?
Tracks: “Indiana Song” “It’s Love” “Le Jour de L’Anniversaire” “El
Pajaro Y El Ciervo” JOHN SCHACHT