Les Spadassins: Diabolique EP
There’s no shortage of 60s-style garage bands, and France has its fair share. How they’re viewed depends on where you are and where they are. Bands cans exist within a scene, dressing right, playing right, remixing the template to suit. Occasionally, though, an extra something adds sparks and the outside world pays attention. It happened with Sweden's Hives. Based on their debut EP – another is due soon - Les Spadassins might also be a breakout band.
The extra something here is a Frenchness that’s been filtered through what sounds like a mild dose of the organ-driven club-soul that drove London's Flamingo in the 60s. Lead cut 'Diabolique', sung in French, plays it out with a groove and reedy organ that parallels that of prime Nino Ferrer. The organ solo is killer. 'Pussy Cat Calls' is cut from the same cloth with a 'She’s About A Mover' shuffle, but is sung in English. 'Black Gloves' opens like a Them slow burner but soon rolls along. 'Christine' is also sung in French, and has that Nino Ferrer swing.
This is knowing stuff, but it’s carried off with panache. The production is incredible: thin, wire-sharp and boxy. The singing is sloppy, not too affectedly sneery. The drums and conga trip over each other. It’s alive. They aren’t rigidly confined by the rules of wherever it is they’ve sprung from.
Les Spadassins are from Rennes – home of Les Trans Musicales – and have assumed names like Bloody Boulga and Captain Beat. Their name is taken from fencing. They’re a five piece and their singer is definitely Fred Gransard, frontman of Bikini Machine. At least one other member is also in fellow Rennes shoegazing/psych outfit Sudden Death of Stars. Perhaps Les Spadassins will be the band to leave those standing.