The Young Gods – L’Eau Rouge (1989)

L’Eau Rouge album cover, September 1989
Fair Dealing/Fair Use

A friend and I, in an effort to broaden our musical appreciation, agreed to listen to and review albums we would never normally listen to. Due to the effort this involved, the scope broadened after a short while to intermittently include those albums that we would normally listen to (mostly new releases). Those albums which we would not normally listen to were selected at random from the book 1001 Albums You Must Listen to Before You Die, a book that I would not recommend.

The reviews were never intended to be published in any way but may bring some enjoyment to the fair folk of this parish. 

I don’t speak much French. Not enough to listen easily to The Young God’s 1989 L’Eau Rouge anyway. If I was motivated enough by the music to bother to find out the lyrics and thus gain a deeper insight in to this album I would; but I’m not. I’ll admit to being intrigued during opener La Fille de la Mort (that’s an easy one): it’s circus-organ refrains and strings are different enough to pique the interest. For four minutes at least, until it becomes some synth-led Euro sleazefest. It goes on for a further three minutes by which point I’m on the back foot with this album.

The most esteemed Long Legs wrote, I believe about The Idiot, that the person compiling this book of Greatest Albums must “like the idea of Iggy Pop but not Iggy Pop itself”. It’s a spot on observation. Why, of all the albums ever made, does this one make it in? Being Francophonic doesn’t imbue it with a quality an Anglophonic album doesn’t have. That’s the same as being in your 20s and pretending to be French whilst chatting up some broads in Snobs.

The lead singer’s hoarse croon doesn’t just grate by track 02, it scours. So much, I skip the track, but not before the frenetic lead guitar goes off on the same repeated GCSE-music riff. It’s self-indulgent claptrap.

I start the title hoping for something better. And struggle to last twenty seconds. I can’t do it, Captain, I don’t have the power. I’m really trying here but there is nothing that I can respond positively to. It’s not just the lead singer’s ill-suited voice, it’s the crap drums; the almost laughable bass; and presumably what is a keyboard with built in effects. Admission: I skipped at 02:20.

Charlotte. Back to the whimsical circus organ. It’s got charisma. Maybe it’s an organ. I don’t know. I’m too distracted by the lead singer’s voice again. To give it its credit: it sounds French. And I don’t mean that in a good way. It’s theatrical without subtlety. Fortunately it’s a short track and is soon over.

The rest of the album’s a blur comprises death-metal guitars and percussion which sounds far more suited to the singer; and 80s synth-led melodies which the Pet Shop Boys and a host of other bands were doing way better. The only respite is possibly L’Armourir in which electronic drums sound better placed enough to carry the rest of the ‘song’.

And finally it’s over. I didn’t listen to the live tracks or remixes which presumably weren’t on the original tracklisting. Looking back on the road trod thus far on this musical journey this one will not stand out. Whilst I’ve detested others equally or more (Throbbing Gristle) or connected less (KISS) this one will not be remembered for the sole reason there was nothing on it to engage me long enough to listen to almost any of the tracks through. When  Oscar Wilde said the only thing worse than being spoken about is not being spoken about he had this album in mind. It won’t gather dust as I’m the proud non-owner of it on any physical format and never will be. And, quite frankly, at this point I’m questioning the motives of the compiler of this book.

What’s the French for don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out?

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