In het maartnummer van fRoots, een van de toonaangevende internationale wereldmuziekmagazines, staat een uitgebreide bespreking van ‘The Ladies’ Second Song’. De meest recente Laïs-cd wordt omschreven als een regelrechte klassieker!
“Jorunn Bauweraerts, Annelies Brosens and Nathalie Delcroix have just made a classic. … it sounds like nothing else you can lay a finger on except that the vocal harmonies could be nobody but Laïs themselves -challenging, energising, sparky, artful and very sexy… this isn’t wifty-wafty sub-folk, it’s major, hard-edged, verging on the dangerous and as addictive as (name your powder of choice).” [fRoots 297, maart 2008]
Blimey! Laïs were already moving in interesting directions out of their Flemish folk roots by the time their third album Douce Victime earned them an fRoots cover back in 2004. But this isn’t just evolution, it’s species jump, even beyond the sort of leap forward that Emmylou Harris did when Wrecking Ball howled in from the wings, crafting music that didn’t exist before. Jorunn Bauweraerts, Annelies Brossens and Nathalie Decroix have just made a classic.
I’m not the only one who was brought up short on first hearing, but after the initial shock subsided it just gets better and better. What they’ve done this time, apart from begin writing themselves, is to take lyrics from W.B. Yeats (lots of Yeats the title track, Leda & The Swans, The Swans At Coole and particularly strikingly Before The World Was Made), Paul Verlaine (another standout, A Clymene, set to a Moroccan tune) and Pablo Neruda (Witte Bij, to a Bulgarian one). Then they’ve added in musicians from all sorts of other fields spiky XTC-ish post-punk, avant garde and electronica as well as their usual. Interestingly, nobody is credited as producer: recorded in various locations, it’s mixed as a classy whole by Dan Lacksman of Belgian electro-pop pioneers Telex (he also produced Deep Forest, but don’t let that put you off). Whatever, it sounds like nothing else you can lay a finger on except that the vocal harmonies could be nobody but Laïs themselves challenging, energising, sparky, artful and very sexy and although it’s more in English than Flemish this time, it’s unmistakeably but can’t-put-a-finger-on-why Belgian.
Complaints? Fire the designer in an otherwise eye-catching digipak you can barely read the damn booklet text because it’s in spidery, minuscule light blue decorative copperplate. And some dingbat has decided in the PR blurb to compare them to Vashti Bunyan and Joanna Newsom which is as inappropriate and misleading as the twerp who christened Souad Massi the Joan Baez of Algeria. Ignore: this isn’t wifty-wafty sub-folk, it’s major, hard-edged,verging on the dangerous and as addictive as (name your powder of choice).
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© Ian Anderson – fRoots 297, March 2008
Website fRoots Magazine
LAÏS The Ladies’ Second Song
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