April March & Aquaserge Compact Disc
The debut collaborative album, out on Freaksvile Records
There are great albums, then there are records that take you somewhere. In the case of April March and Aquaserge, it's to a '60s Paris brimming with style, spirit and seduction. It's a slow kiss amid the hustle and bustle of a Belleville patisserie, the final chapters of a Didion novel read crisping in the sun on the banks of the Seine, a wine-soaked night chasing shadows down the streets of Place de la Bastille. And, as the locals might say, c'est fantastique.
And why wouldn't it be, with two such remarkable talents at the helm. Take one brigade of psychedelic rock specialists, cult favourites Aquaserge, who feature Tame Impala drummer Julien Barbagallo and recentMelody's Echo Chamber collaborator Benjamin Glibert, add one beguiling Californian songwriter, April March (real name Elinor Blake), whose candid yé-yé pop met international acclaim when her song ‘Chick Habit’ featured in gritty Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse thriller Death Proof, and the sparks are going to fly – let alone with one of the most creative and romantic of settings as their inspiration.
A Serge Gainsbourg-indebted Parisian pop masterstroke full of haunted organ sounds, gently crunching guitars, charming harmonies and sumptuous detail, this debut collaboration was written and recorded across continents, between Blake's New Jersey apartment and the group's Vallesville barn in the French countryside (“on warm days we'd have the barn doors to the studio wide open so when I recorded my vocals it'd be to a random audience of birds and chickens,” recalls the singer). All this after Aquaserge and Blake met in 2007 while playing in – where else? - Paris.
“A friend invited us to play as her backing band for the evening,” says instrumentalist and one time Stereolab man Julien Gasc. “I remember Elinor in her fuchsia dress. I thought that she was so classy and splendid in her way of being, moving, of dancing, of singing. She's a muse, our intellectual other half. We're eerily similar in our tastes: music, the arts, literature, cinema, food. We had to do a record together, that was obvious.” The result is a record Blake suggests sounds like “a sea voyage from France to New York then by land across the southern route of the States ending on the coast in California with percussive flashes of time travel mayhem along the way.”
“I was born in New York City in 1965,” explains Blake ,whose 9 album discography includes LPs called Gainsbourgsion! and Paris in April, of her Francophone fascination. “French culture was something my mother presented to me as a greener pasture when I was a little girl. The message was that even our French frying pan held something more magical than what we had in the States. By '71, in the wake of the Manson Murders and the Black Panther trials, the '60s had been slammed shut but for me there could always be France, a fantastic castle in a bubble floating above my dollhouse. I chased that bubble for years especially after my mother died, a naive reflex to dark times.”
Mixed in Chicago by legendary Tortoise frontman John McEntire and released via Benjamin Schoos’s Freaksville label, this is a record that will take you somewhere – to a place that after one listen you'll feel compelled to return to again and again.
"American singer teams up with a rag tag band of psychedelic misfits to indulge her French flight of fancy.. This is a good thing, obviously" The Guardian
"La chanteuse précieuse April March réapparaît sur nos radars à la faveur d'une collaboration avec les Français progressifs d'Aquaserge..Un premier aperçu délicieusement pscyhé-pop de ce voyage dans le temps et l'espace " Magic Rpm
"L’équilibre entre la pop enjouée d’April March et la complexité d’Aquaserge est néanmoins bien maîtrisé et l’album sonne comme une jolie révélation à la portée des oreilles connaisseuses." Gonzai.com
"This debut collaboration between sophisticate April March and pop psychedelics Aquaserge mixes polished ye-ye charm with light jangly trippiness. A charming bonbon, then. Vive la Francophiles!" Shindig ! uk