By Sam Tornow, Editorial Director
[Crammed Discs; 2016]
Key Tracks: “Tintin on est bien mon loulou”, “Si loin, si proche”, “Tour du monde”
It’s easy to be weird: Learn to play the ocarina, memorize every line of the Mr. Bean saga, wear a fedora for Christ’s sake. To have Zappa-esque, “cool” weirdness is another story. It’s a trait masterfully pulled off by few: Beefheart, Dahli, Desnos, Huxley, McKenna. It takes a special person, or group of persons, to channel their left-field, neurological wiring into something that will resonate with other people. French-psych group Aquaserge fit in nice and snug with the strange, and their third full-length, Laisse ça être, is as weird and cool as Vermin Supreme in a tuxedo.
This is an album of back and fourths. Laisse ça être (meaning “leave it be”) packs innumerable elements into 45 minutes of material. Aquaserge moves like an amoeba, convulsing all over as a singular movement, only separating to gather more influences before meeting up again. The intensely colorful instrumentation, which features woodwind, brass, mallet and key instruments, is often making tandem sweeping movements across all types of terrain. The 6 minute “Tintin on est bien mon loulou” seamlessly maneuvers through waltz beats and Jimmy Page style guitar riffs, painting a picture that only could only be analyzed as underwater ballroom competition with a dash of mescaline.
As a whole, Laisse ça être is undoubtedly dense. With a majority of the songs peeking their heads above the 5-minute mark, it’s not an album for a decompressing session. The quick changes in style often leave the listener saying “what the hell was th-” before being interrupted by something equally as interesting. This is the case in songs like “Si loin, si proche” and “Tour du monde,” which demand keen attention to the lower levels of the mix that have sparklingly guitars and accordions swimming like jellyfish.
Perhaps the greatest treasure of Laisee ça être is its nod to the signature styles of several psych pioneers: The obvious Bonham drumming style, rhythmic standout keys like Manzarek, songs of syncopated vocals reminiscent of The Mothers of Invention, and kaleidoscope-colored guitars mimicking the 13th Floor Elevators. For deep psych dwellers, every song is a treat to listen to.
Frankly, it’s just weirdly cool.