Thomas Dutronc: Silence On Tourne, On Tourne En Rond
For his second album proper. Thomas Dutronc is overshadowed by two things, one inevitable, the other self defined. He's the son of Françoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc. And his first album cast him as a manouche or gypsy jazz guitarist. Silence On Tourne, On Tourne En Rond broadens his musical palette, bringing a little distance from the latter. But doing so opens up the links between himself and his dad.
The instrumentals 'Valse en Exile' and 'Gypsy Rainbow' could be from the first album, with their Django Reinhardt guitar and Stephane Grappelli violin. So could the Duane Eddy-infused 'Vinyle 73', where his singing is this close to his dad’s 60s style. Dutronc senior’s 'Paris S'Eveille'looms over Silence On Tourne, On Tourne En Rond. Dutronc junior’s songwriting – or perhaps the arrangements – has an um-chunk, um-chink bounciness (think 'Dead End Street' Kinks) which means there’s little distinguishing the opening four cuts, although 'On Ne Sait Plus Ennuyer' is coloured by some Hot Club de France violin. 'Sésame', the fifth track, is instead an acoustic guitar/strings ballad that wanders from the template. It’s only two-thirds through the album, on 'Clint', that a distinct new voice emerges, opening the way for the quirky, syncopated 'Alerte A La Blonde'. This Thomas Dutronc sounds like British 90s band Dodgy if they’d been brought up on a diet of Gallic pop and jazz.
There's a carefulness about Silence On Tourne, On Tourne En Rond. It doesn’t break a sweat, which is no problem. But the album hints of going places beyond its self-defined constraints. Whether that’s because of Dutronc himself or his producers – four people (including Dutronc) are credited with “conception artistique” – it’s impossible to know. But less thought and less conception may have made Silence On Tourne, On Tourne En Rond easier to engage with.