Remember when you used to buy records and within a week you (thought you) knew all of the words. You could sing along with every track. You knew all of the words to Sisters of Mercy’s Floodland and The Cure’s Faith and The Smiths’ Strangeways Hear We Come because they were so fucking profound.
Well my friends those days are long gone but every now and then a record comes along which delights in its lyrical power, and that record is La Foret.
My ipod “Mr Boo” tells me that this is my second most listened to record I own. This worries me. I haven’t been depressed recently. Life is all good. So what is it with the repeated listens of this morose little fucker? Xiu Xiu I am reliably informed is a fellow called Jamie Stewart and various collaborators. Mr Stewart is so em-ocean-al that he struggles to get his lyrics out . Here’s a taste from the opening Clover, We … closed … our … lips …and …we … called … it … love/ … we … swallowed … a … clover … made … of … lead …/ … it’s … impossible … to … keep … on … living. So .. many … pregnant pauses … makes … one …want to … turn … it … off. He sounds on the brink of tears.
Things get a shithoad better after that ordinary little opener. Muppet Face is an absolute cracker of unrequited love, emotion and fury. Pox steals the best Postal Service bedroom beat and chucks in a dose of Echo and the Bunnymen. Check this out for a lyric, a wasp will find its way into your pointless life/ it’s stinger will sting you away/ this is where I live/ dripping and marked from your paint/ Jesus is wondering/ if He can ever love you. And then later this little nugget, will you turn me to money/ will I shat my poison egg in your mouth?/ signed with my conifer blood/ this plastic coffin in the shade of/ your sickening daughters and/ your idiotic hobblers wife/ this is where I live/ community college is waiting for them.
This is a terrific experimental pop record. There are beats, harsh noise, stunning silences, distinguished mood pieces, avant garde electronics and sweet pop moments. Not an easy listen by any means but a records that makes music matter again.