Liverpool trio Hot Club de Paris' second album trails adolescent awkwardness.
Tim Nelson 2008-06-12
Trailing adolescent awkwardness, Liverpool trio Hot Club de Paris' second album, Live At Dead Lake, comes with the picture of a coffin wrapped in bunting. Unfortunately for Paul Rafferty and brothers Matthew Cameron and Alasdair Smith this is a classic case of misdirection in more ways than intended.
The first track, Call Me Mister Demolition Man, encapsulates the problem, coalescing into an uneasy mismatch between vocals and instrumentation after an intriguing opening. The music is bouncy indie with tricky time signatures, punk concision and a sprinkling of afrobeat guitar, but the vocals are, basically, a let-down. Take, for example, the vocal refrain of the opener - undercut by cheerfully aerobic musical arrangements, while the much vaunted harmonies fail to impress.
Lyrically, undercooked, sub-Alex Turner romantic confessionals dribble through the album. But worse are the half-baked attempts at irony, wit and humour. Hey, Housebrick! attempts to do an Autobiography Of A Bullet for the altogether more humble dwelling-block, but comes across as risible rather than exciting, perhaps because, statistically speaking, a brick is just more likely to be used for a constructive, building-related purpose than a bullet.
Attempts at wordplay in the titles don't entirely work either; from The Dice Weren't Just Loaded From the Start, to I Wasn’t Being Heartless When I Said Your Favourite Song Lacked Heart. One can only say, physician heal thyself. Not that the music isn’t also derivative in places (particularly in its tendency to gallop to conclusions), but in the instrumental We Played Ourselves, the intro to Found Sleeping, or even the folk stylings of the aforementioned Dice, it does at least suggest another band, bolder yet subtler, and probably with a different lyricist than Hot Club possess at present.