A horrible hack

Benoit Pioulard


Year Released: 2011
Format: CD
Label: Kranky
Reviewed by Alex Nuttall on Jan 31, 2011
You know what you're getting with a Benoit Pioulard album, catchy electro-acoustic folk interspersed with light ambient music.

The album opens up with the sound of an old steam train and after the first, and I have to say, weak track we get into the stuff he's best at. He's got a knack of crafting lovely-sounding folk songs with pop-hooks. He should probably stick to that though because the warm and subtle drone bits that appear sporadically throughout the album really don't do much for me.

It's difficult to make out the majority of the lyrics but the hooks and melodies alone will keep songs like Sault, Tie and Lasted in your head for hours afterwards. As oppose to tracks like Fluoresce and Passenger which seem aimless and only serve to provide over long and frankly uninteresting intros to the good songs.

At his best he recalls a (slightly!) more upbeat Red House Painters, or a less-quirky Tunng, and the way he sings and drenches some of his songs in reverb reminds me of Songs of Green Pheasant. I suppose the best comparison would be to Peter Broderick who crosses over (less successfully) between ambient and folk music in a very similar fashion.

The best songs on this album easily sit alongside the excellent Fir 7 he released on Type and, whilst patchy, at its heights this album is a decent Sunday morning listen.

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