A LIGHT HOUSE IN THE DARKNESS - Little Green Fairy (self released)
One of France's finest trios of psych noisemakers go part of the way down an acoustic path for their newest record and it's hypnotically effective. Little Green Fairy don't leave the fuzzbox and wah wah pedal at home in their town of Sette but vary their textures enough to open up new vistas of light and shade.
Little Green Fairy's always had dynamics, they've just added some more atmospherics. "I've Never Seen The Light" is a folk rock opening to the nine-track album and it's more captivating that somber. Rauky's plaintive vocal is right on the money. "Burning Soul" is even better with Clarisse's warm drumming and the catchy chorus adding to the impact. "I Feel Low" is a Velvets style stroll while "She's Gone" continues in the same style.
"I Believe In Miracles" is a pounding Ramones cover that reminds you these guys (and girl) know how to rock. Joey's solo song "I Won't Let It Happen" (a poignant co-write with Andy Shernoff) is a less boisterous but no less effective second Lower East Side reference point. Sung with that French burr, no less.
"Seven Gates Of Hell" calls in guest Lo Spider (Jerry Spider Gang - and the record's producer) on '70s synthesizer to help build the wall of sound and comes a close second to "We Are The Night" as the pick for barnstormer of the album.
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STUCK OUT OF TIME - Little Green Fairy (Nova Express Records)
Little Green Fairy didn't have to lay waste to the Saints classic "This Perfect Day" to make "Stuck Out Of Time" a worthwhile album but it's all the better for it. This veteran French trio (two guitars and drums) plays a steamroller brand of fuzzy punk-cum-psych that's not particularly subtle but endearingly powerful.
It's the mix of wah wah lines and fuzz that makes Little Green Fairy different from your rote garage group. Vocalist and one-armed guitarist Rauky Molinier (a friend to scores of touring bands in Southern France) and six-string partner Eric Dim summon a full-throated, squalling roar from their instruments, like a thunderstorm rolling over the Mediterranean coast. Clarise Bruyere's sharp drumming provides ample momentum, and she adds keening backing vocals in places to significantly lighten the sound.
Eleven originals on "Stuck Out Of Time" and they have plenty to offer. Most lean towards the heavy end of the spectrum, with producer Lucas Trouble adding some additional texture on keys.
The uncoiling "Sniper Alley", strong-armed fuzz pop "Love Is Gone", quicksilver lead guitar of "Dope City Girl" and the tuned-down melodic rumble of "She's Gone" rate as the stand-outs.
A couple of the other tunes run into each other but that's a hazard of the trade for a band that doesn't even pretend to play ballads. "Hole Over Time" comes close and then gets wrapped in a jacket of thick fuzz. LGF mostly stick to what they're comfortable with. A wheezy harmonica in "When I Wake Up" puts things out on a limb for a while but all roads eventually lead back to the fuzzbox.
Re-visiting the Saints song is a damned brave move. I stumbled over some YouTube of LGF doing that very same song and to say it burns is a mild understatement. A burred French accent isn't a million miles from a bog Irish Brisbane would-be bard's slurred pronouncements, but I'll bet Rauky wouldn't wear pyjamas on stage.
Lucas Trouble's Nova Express label has long been a haven for left-of-centre rock and roll and "Stuck Out Of Time" continues that pattern. At 37 minutes it's not an album that runs overtime, but brevity saves it from any perceived shortcomings. - The Barman
BURN WITCH BURN - Little Green Fairy (Nova Express)
There's some wonderful rock and roll to be found if you scratch just under the surface, and France's Little Green Fairy look to have tapped their own private motherlode. A dozen snarling balls of fuzz, posing as songs, and not a stinker among them.
Their first album was more than respectable but the tuneage is a touch stronger and more consistent on "Burn Witch Burn", and the playing more focussed. It's nothing pretentious, just sparse and an undercurrent of vocal melody, much of the aformentioned provided by Rauky. The other guitarist, La Mouche, provides a foundation that's soaked in fuzz, while Clarisse's drumming gets the whole thing along at an energetic pace. The lack of a bass is not a drawback, as it rocks well enough. He doesn't make a big deal of it on the album cover but mainman Rauky, I'm reliably informed, plays guitar one-handed, squeezing unearthly noises out of its neck and putting most able-bodied six-stringers in the shade.
Simple songs done simply are, more often than not winners, when played with energy, and the highlights range from the squawling title track to "Motown soul", which is underlaid with crazy keyboards (courtesy of label owner and co-producer Lucas Trouble (late of the Vietnam Veterans) and trademark guitar squall. Rauky's vocals take on a Mark Mothersburgh quality on "G. bye darling" where an insistent guitar figure wins the day. Wah-wah is heard to best effect on "Don't wanna be a fucking insect" (hey - an understandable sentiment.)
The psych thread that runs through these songs makes Little Green Fairy something out of the ordinary. No surprise to find this band on Nova Express, an idiosyncratic label populated by some of France's best underground outfits. Lucas Trouble provides a gritty studio sound for these tunes without them sounding under-produced.
If you're casting around, looking to hear something a bit different, you can do worse than chase this down. In fact, you should go out of your way to prcocure a copy. It pushes some boundaries. - The Barman
GREEN FEEDBACK ON YOU Little Green Fairy (Mars Attacks Records)
The nature of Rock is that it sometimes comes seeping out of the most unlikely places. Sonic Assassin member Rauky leads the three-piece from southern France with the funny name. Southern France is a great place to visit but hasnt been renowned for Rock Action since Keef and Co copped the eviction notice back in the early 70s. This disc makes us wonder if were getting out enough (air fares to Europe will be gratefully accepted).
Little Green Fairy throws out enough feedback and wah-wah on the opening track, Lobotomy For Ever, to underline that this is no ordinary fairy story. These are psychedelic-tinged excursions into hard-edged rock-pop. Its a mixed bag, but its rarely boring. Most Bar patrons will find something worthy here.
Occasional Bar reviewer Laurent Van Bouvelen hipped us to the LGF a couple of years ago. He rated their live show as something special and occasional reports form others have said nothing to the contrary. Rauky, drummer Clarisse and second guitarist La Mouche (why do French musos always have enigmatic names?) mostly do without a bass player. One guitarist usually lays down a solid foundation while the other flies off into the ether. Clarisse is rock solid behind the traps, driving the beat without filling every possible hole.
Choose Your Real Style is a blast of catchy rock-pop that recalls Dave Grohls Foo Fighters without the sharp edges filed off. It stops abruptly, resurrects itself as a Beefheart afterthought, and then morphs back into its original form. Its brother is a cut called I Wish (You Bite the Dust) that appears later on the disc.
Theres a quirky cover of Creedences Bad Moon Rising that begs no-ones indulgence as it does its business in just over two minutes and pisses off. The Onlything is a bracing bit of straight-up rock and roll. Hippy Girls (You Are All Smell So Go to Hell) wins best title, hands down, but isnt that memorable.
The closing No Lies features guest vocalist Jo Lebb (Jos a he) and bassist Marc Hacquet (a Kevin K collaborator, I think) and is curiously out of place. It shapes as a piece of American Midwest heartland rock, before some arresting La Mouche and Rauky guitarwork kicks it clear of Springsteenland.
Interesting stuff and procurable via the LGF website - The Barman
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