‘La Vie Sent Quoi?’

2010

CD – Download

Recorded at Noise Factory, Wierde.

Tracks –
1. Le Fléau de dieu  (3:26)
2. aEDoNISM  (4:24)
3. Tinkeltankel  (6:02)
4. La vie sans toi  (4:00)
5. The next market day  (3:06)
6. Cadrielje  (2:30)
7. Que peut-il nous arriver de pire?  (4:22)
8. Stormdans  (3:30)
9. Morphine sweet  (3:42)
10. Tutskovin & Glenside polkas  (4:05)
11. Quand nous sommes à la taverne  (3:25)
12. Each man kills the thing he loves  (0:59)

Matthieu Collard – Fiddle.
Yves Van Elst – Pipes and transverse flute.
Stéphane Jalhay – Acoustic and electric lead guitars.
Laurent Leemans – Acoustic guitar and strings on tracks 6 & 12, percussion and vocals.
Thibaud Mission – Double Bass.
Jérémy Pinera – Drums.

The omnivorous Belgium acoustic folk-rocking group Ceilí Moss, may seem like a departure of sorts for your humble reviewer: a far cry from the usual fare that gets featured on my blog.
But their latest album, La Vie Sent Quoi?, dropped onto the well-worn mat underneath my letterbox, a couple of weeks ago; so I thought what the hell, let’s take a gander.

Formed back in 1996, the atavistic troupe have since traversed the musical heritage of the Flanders, Ireland, Scandinavia and, even, the Balkans, to create a ethnographical miss-mash of lively Pogues-esque exuberance, Celtic jiggery and pastoral progressive folk.
On there fourth, self-released, album they reinterpret both standards and traditional compositions, whilst performing some original material.
Interspersed amongst the vocal based tracks, are a scattering of instrumentals and polkas.

Kicking off proceedings is the jaunty Gallic/Celtic shindig ‘Le Fléau de dieu’’ an introduction to the band of sorts, this jamboree perfectly summarises the groups feisty, and sometimes, unkempt sound.
Roughly translated as ‘The plague of the Gods’, the Clannad knees-up is rich with bouncing double bass, marching flutes and feverish fiddles; the soundtrack to a rowdy night out in the old country.

Those pining romanticising gestures to the emerald Isle continue on the more sober ‘aEDoNISM’, a song that switches between light-headedness to stirring old Flemish mournful breaks, without battering an eyelid.
The first of many instrumentals, the opsicule ‘Tinkeltankel’, marries Russian tragedy and prog-rock folk to a galloping swirling polka – imagine Jethro Tull in the Urals.
Marauding polkas seem a firm favourite with the Belgians, as they pop-up regularly throughout the album, culminating in the clash of styles ‘Tutskovin & Glenside Polkas’ romp. Originally included on their 2001 LP Be There & Be Drunk, this revised and revamped version finely welds together a misty-eyed Irish ditty to a Finnish one, and throws in a segue way swerve-ball of Spanish sounding jangley guitar and congas.

The rest of this collection visits the Elizabethan court, as re-imagined by Fairfield Parlour, on ‘The next market day’ – a antiquaries ballad from yore – or falls into Euro-rock mode, as on their sorrow drowning analogy ‘Morphine Sweet’.
Drawing a close to this trans-European suite of tomes, is the a cappella rendition of ‘Each man kills the thing he loves’, taken from Oscar Wilde’s release from prison penned ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’.
The starkly, but cruelly true, prose somehow complements the album, as most of the subject matter has a poetic, but witty, serious nature; spanning Latin lament and 17th century Dutch splendour.

Ceilí Moss are a real talented bunch of accomplished musicians, who at the drop of a hat can leap from sprightly energetic furores, into evocative atmospheric resignation and pained reflection: transporting us from the present day to the courtyards of the early renaissance in a matter of seconds.

DV

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