Review by: Dominic Linde
Aksak Maboul’s Un Peu De L’Ame Des Bandits starts strongly with a Bo Diddley beat punctuated by agonized singing/screaming and instrumental passages sounding like a cross between Faust and klezmer. And though the album continues to be filled with strong moments throughout, it really meanders as a whole. Avant jam after another make up the bulk of the album (though I can’t really say what is jamming here and what was written) culminating with the impressive “Bosses De Crosses.” Countermelodies and much of the guitar work sounds like it’s straight from the Residents and Snakefinger, but this collective is comprised of much better musicians than the earlier avant group.
I feel guilty for reducing the group to a bunch of comparisons, though those other bands came to mind pretty frequently upon listen. However, I do want to make it clear that this is interesting, enjoyable music. Dissonant, yet melodic. Saxophones burst into counterpoints that rub and run away. The electric violin is always a welcome addition. There are sound effects galore (I think I hear a toilet flushing in the final track?) and grunts and groans sneak their way into the mix. It’s avant-garde. It’s good.