October 5, 2016
Moussu T E Lei Jovents | Navega!
Ready for some roots-rock Provencale? That’s what Moussu T E Lei Jovents, one of the world’s most criminally underappreciated bands, delivers on their latest album. They’re from Marseille and La Ciotat, Mediterranean seaports that are the New Orleans or the Baranquilla of France: the gate through which the rest of the world’s varied cultures enters. In the past, Brazilian and African music have been major reference points for the band; this time their sound is rooted in Americana: swing, early jazz and especially the blues. Front man Tatou’s charismatic, gruff voice is in fine form here, and his long-time bandmate Blu (they worked together in pioneering French reggae-rockers Massilia Sound System back in the 80s) is just sensational on strings, whether it’s banjo, electric or slide guitar. Together they’re like an Occitan version of Tom Waits and Marc Ribot; see track 5 for an illustration. If you want to hear them cut loose, try the bluesy 2 or the all-out rockers 3 and 7. And they’re equally good on the mellower material, with 4 and 10 (about silent film star Louise Brooks) the best of the bunch. An outstanding record by an underrated band.
TOP TRACKS: 2 3 4 5 7 10
ALSO RECOMMENDED: 1 6 8 9 11