The tunes, maddeningly, deliver a lethally addictive sucker punch of exuberance.
Rob Crossan 2009
Appropriately, 20-year-old Frenchman Yanis Sahraoui, aka Sliimy, of Moroccan-Algerian descent, hails from the gritty industrial sprawl of Saint Etienne. Appropriate, as the effervescent pure pop aesthetics of his debut album have much in common with the 90s Brit band of the same name – though the more studious post-modern sensibilities of the latter are suppressed with more than a few layers of glitter spray here.
Paint Your Face tries hard to appeal to the tight-cardigan, side-swept hair cut scenesters, but its problem is that the songs here are just a little too lovable and catchy.
Wake Up is a typically jaunty number, Sliimy’s voice soaring in faux cockney like an effete cousin of Jamie T while school music room keyboards squeak and clap in a riotously catchy fashion. There’s even some eyebrow-raising meaningless lyrics: “Ding dong, hey it’s your birthday”. It isn’t going to win an Ivor Novello, but it’s marvellous fun all the same.
Signed to Perez Hilton’s record label stateside, this is a record that feels as comfortable blasted into the changing room sound system at Top Shop as it does at a Shoreditch gallery opening night.
And beneath the sugar rush thrills there’s something a little more skewered and awkward at play – particularly on Mum, a spooky, almost gothic number where sparse minor chords chime against Sliimy’s paean to his mother, who died when he was seven. “I just want you to be proud of me,” he whispers in a tone that suggests a depth to his talent that will remain when the fashionista garms no longer fit.
The Playschool melodies of tracks like Everytime may nauseate with repeat listens but, despite one’s initial instinct to write this off as irritating irony fest, the tunes, maddeningly, deliver a lethally addictive sucker punch of exuberance.