Release Date: 17th January 2020
Label: Fuck The Bassplayer Records
Formats: DL / DSP
This French duo mix a unique way of presenting blues lyrics, spoken word and falsetto voices with outstanding traditional blues playing. The blues acoustic guitar work on the opening track, A Man Outstanding In His Field, is second to none.
Laurent Lacrouts and Mathieu Jourdain run an organic farm in southwestern France, in the Gascony area, where they breed geese but in the band they are Malcom on guitar and Phil on drums and prefer to play without a bass player.
Only the name gives you a clue to their national origin as spoken words are clearly delta blues but the dreamy singing which later increases in pitch will be unfamiliar to blues purists. Definitely an unusual combination in blues but such is the quality that it works. Who says you have to sound like John Lee Hooker or BB King to deliver the blues?
The violin intro comes as no surprise in the second track, Cultural Misunderstanding, in which we move away from the blues and go more country style. By now it is clear to expect the unexpected as we are made aware that we are listening to a very original piece of music.
In Globalisation we are treated to some stunning slide blues guitar, 12 bar it is indeed, but not at we know it. Throw away the blues rule book these chaps are re-writing it in a refreshing and unique way.
During The Best, we are told that we are supposed to follow a pre-planned route in our lives. The tune is indeed more traditional but they choose to use a lilting violin played in classical orchestral style rather than ‘country it up’ or ‘folk it up’ as would be expected.
Then as you are wondering will the next song be country or blues you get to hear distinctly early 70’s rock in We The People Of The Soil….more Crosby Stills and Nash in style but jazzy too, with a funky groove.
The rest of the tracks are pure Inspector Cluzo playing in their own distinctive individual style even adding orchestral backing but no bass! The Little Girl and the Whistling Train displays their versatility, with a range of tempo, dynamics, and their musicality.
The album concludes with the soulful Brothers In Ideals which sums up their philosophy, sharing with us, their love of agriculture and music and how they link the two…’soul in the soil’ if you like!
Perhaps not as evident on this album but they can really rock it up and rock hard live which you’ll find with some online searching. This album is their 6th since they formed in 2008, they can be rocky and bluesy but they also explore with funk and groove.
Their last album, We The People Of The Soil (2018), was recorded in Nashville with the American producer Vance Powell (Jack White, Seasick Steve, Arctic Monkeys) with real energy and a raw sound.
Not only are they self-sufficient farmers, raising geese in Gascony, but they also control their own recording and group management. and this is displayed in the music they create which has a ‘free’ quality with no limit to their very expressive powerful music.
You may need a few listens before your ear adjusts to their particular style but bear with them, you need to listen to them as a whole without letting the falsetto voice discourage you as you’ll learn it’s an integral part of their sound.
They have learned well in their musical career. They may appear new to us but they are no novices and as in their farming career seek to learn from the best, they even know how to kick the odd drum over too. Now ‘Who’ did they pick that up from?
To catch The Inspector Cluzo live in the UK, check out the dates below. The UK tour in February 2020 follows a French headline tour.
- Wednesday 19th Glasgow – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
- Thursday 20th Bristol – The Exchange
- Friday 21st Birmingham – Actress & Bishop
- Saturday 22nd Manchester – Soup Kitchen
- Tuesday 25th London – Camden Assembly
Tickets are on-sale now here.