An album of inventive moments rather than great songs.
Greg Cochrane 2009
Long distance relationships are difficult at the best of times. Get Back Guinozzi!, London-based singer Eglantine Gouzy and instrumentalist Fred Landini residing in the south of France, know this more than most.
The tracks for this, their debut album, were exchanged digitally over the English Channel through the course of 2007. The result is a record bursting with scatter-brain ideas but one without any of the intimacy which comes with being able to read a friend's facial reactions.
Initially, the foundations for GBG!, now a couple of years old, were laid as Landini penned tracks for use by a contemporary dance company. Something which makes sense as Carpet Madness’ opaque twists, turns and jolts would probably work well interpreted by RADA into surrealist ballet. It does, however, make for a challenging listen.
There's no doubt it's adventurous stuff, 15 tracks of paper-y programmed drum beats, sparky guitars and Gouzy's customised - shrilly delivered - English lyrics (or "English in baboon style," as she describes it).
Kooky, yes, but also mildly irritating. The weepy laughter on Go Back to School and dreamy sighs on I Don't Want to Sleep Alone are bizarre and fractured touches reminiscent of The B-52's, Yoko Ono and French-Canadian popsters Malajube. Elsewhere L.A.'s Fiery Furnaces-esque leanings make it more accessible. But it’s not enough to rescue Carpet Madness from being an album of inventive moments, rather than great songs.
Ironically, the most palatable pop tune here isn't their own. A cover of Police & Thieves (originally by Junior Murvin, and then The Clash) complete with de-tuned guitars and synthesised beats, sticks out as a highlight.
It is the one hint that if GBG! could actually get in a room together for album number two then we could see something more promising. For the moment, it's back to the e-mail.