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CAROLINE LACAZE: En Route (2013)

Caroline Lacaze‘s French language vocals on her debut En Route might fly in the face of tradition whereby ninety-nine per cent of non-native English speaking singers on the contemporary funk/ soul scene ply their trade in English but that’s why I love the French. They adhere to wild and crazy notions that singing in ‘foreign’ is no less valid than singing in English. Plus, they are well aware that – a French vocal can be really sexy – right fans of Serge Gainsbourg?

Lacaze’s debut is a classy twelve track set of soul, funk, psych and mod beat anchored by super-tight backing from the Mocambo Electric Sound Orchestra and evocative of late nights in smoky French basement nightclubs. Funny that – because as the title of the album and songs suggest, it’s something of a musical roadtrip. On this particular one, things begin a little moodily and near the start of the LP is where you’ll find the wistful soul of recent single L’Etrange. Things take a decidedly upbeat turn however with the arrival of Laisser Tomber, a heavy Herbie/ Bring Down The Birds-ish effort perfect for soundtracking of crazy young couples careering with devil-may-care abandon around Euro capitals on Vespas. Other highlights include the surf-rock-tinged Road Stop (which is anything but immobile), En Route Madame which rests on a wicked-loose funk groove, the fatback drums of Harley Davidson and the summery energy of of the highly funky guitar/ organ driven closer Ou Tu M’Emmenes. And where is she taking you? Funky-ass France my friend. Don’t complain. French chicks are hot.
(Out 19 April on Mocambo)

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