Rose Tiger on Youbet: Why I Love

The End Forever is the freshly released debut album from French-Anglo-Hispanic trio Rose Tiger. Courting influences from everything from 70’s glam-rock and rock operas to 80’s-synth-pop and early 2000’s house, this is a debut album with huge ambition built on an extraordinary vision.

Under the band name hides the solo project of French artist Cyprien “Wendy” Jacquet (member of the French band Serpent and also drummer for Jehnny Beth), launched in 2017. With Rose Tiger, he has proven to be a gifted composer and multi-skilled musician, as talented behind his synths and computer as behind a mic or an electric guitar.

We’re joined by Cyprien  who tells us why the colourful folky pop of Nick Llobet’s Youbet has been such an inspiration

I first bumped into Nick Llobet in a tiny Brooklyn club called The Owl, where I was playing a gig with wonderful French artist/friend Halo Maud (whose vocals are featured on the new Chemical Brothers album as well as on the track Abby’s Song from our new record). There were two bands supporting us that night (both great). One of them was Youbet, and Nick’s (guitar and vocals) performance blew me away. Their vocal tone was very unexpected, yet beautiful, and their sophisticated songwriting caught my attention and drew me away from the bar area where I was about to get myself a drink. When I got into the live room I didn’t see what I was expecting to see. Was this high pitched, almost childish voice coming from this person? It really struck me, and for the whole show, I was in awe. The live performance was perfect and very refined, thanks to the great bunch of NYC musicians who were playing. I met Nick quickly after our set and they invited me to join a private online songwriting club that they created with some friends (which I did later during the COVID lockdown for a short period of time).

The day after, we had to leave New York to play some shows in Canada, and all I had left from Youbet was a 20 second video clip of their song Endless, because at the time there was nothing on the internet. NOTHING.

I perfectly remember the day when they finally released their first album Compare And Despair (about 8 months after the show at The Owl). I was staying in Los Angeles for a few days and it became the soundtrack of this trip. When I sat on the couch and played the first song of the album on Spotify, I instantly got the chills. That was the song from the 20 second video clip I watched over and over on my phone! This made me extremely happy. I recognized a few other songs from their set and discovered new ones as well. After listening to the whole album twice I made a statement: it goes in my top ten album of all time, and I still stand by it three and a half years later. 

Nick’s vocal grain is the most original and identifiable thing on this record. Their voice sounds like it has been recorded and then sped up with a tape, giving the impression of a young child (in a cool way), to the extent that every time my wife forgets who Youbet is I have to refer to them as ‘The Baby’ (Le Bébé in French)! Musically, the (definitely not a) baby’s record is an indie/psych/bedroom pop gem that most enthusiasts of this kind of music should hear. There’s a bit of Elliott Smith in there but with the innocence of Daniel Johnston and the virtuosity of The Lemon Twigs (another of NYC’s finest). 

I believe it was made mostly in a flat on an 8-track tape recorder, which makes it sound very direct and honest to the ear. I remember buying one of these tape machines some time after to try to achieve the same kind of results, but I gave up and sold it quite quickly. It definitely gives a vibe and it’s fun to press all these buttons, but you have to be a crazy good singer/musician to achieve a great one shot take without being able to redo or edit it as you would with a computer, especially regarding the complexity of Nick’s guitar parts, chord progressions and arrangements. 

It’s quite interesting that this album is called Compare And Despair because I did compare my songwriting to theirs and despaired a lot! At some point, I even decided that they should sing the main role in my rock opera instead of me because I thought my vocals would ruin it. I actually asked them if he would but he politely refused (which makes a lot of sense because their voice is so unique and personal that it would colour the album with too much of their personality).  At some point there even were two tracks on the early version of The End Forever that were just bad Youbet copies, so I had to take them out.

I guess to be creative, you sometimes need a big gust of inspiration from an artist you’ve just discovered, and then you have to slowly retrieve your own personality while keeping a bit of what that artist gave to you through his work. 

Unfortunately I never saw Youbet live again because they never tour in Europe, but I think they recorded new music that should come out in the near future. Let’s hope!

Our thanks to Cyprien for taking the time to share these thoughts.

Here’s Rose Tiger’s Meet Me At The Cemetery:

Rose Tiger online: Facebook / X – formerly Twitter/ Instagram / Soundcloud / Youtube

You can read more from our extensive archive of Why I Love pieces from a wide array of artists on an even wider array of subjects, here.

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