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Tricky Woo | Les Sables Magiques (Sonic Unyon)
Oooh, that was a shock. Here was I sitting all relaxed as the strings played against gentle guitars, marvelling at the depth of talent in this new acoustic movement (or whatever it's called this week) when a minute into it there's a burst of noise, much like a Boston riff and a bluesy, gruff voice bounds in to rock out. Soon it's Stones licks a-go-go, until they get bored with that and go off somewhere else amid a bluster of wah-wah pedal mayhem. This is only the first song mind. There's a lot of Mick 'n' Keef in here, but more by the way of the Black Crowes or the Georgia Satellites and most of the songs are long enough to allow them to change their minds several times and baffle yours. They even throw in a charming instrumental, Beau Soleil, near the middle of the album, just to make sure you're paying attention. Thus ensured they then get rocking again until Szabo Gabo ends with the great lines "I could close my eyes forevermore and dream of you in the arms of angels." It then heads Pearl Jam's way with the chant of "you don't see the sky like I do" before wandering off on a jazz tip that tumbles into the delicate opening of the, instrumental, title track. Again, it shape shifts from meandering along under a big sky to ending up in a 70's funk band. Things are back on track for Liberty Drawl as the speakers shudder under the barrage of the intro and don't finish until the track does. They throw everything into Strange Meat, including some crazy bongos, but by this time you're used to it. For the finale they up the ante. Winter suddenly breaks into some girlie vocals and, as a result, starts to calm down to complete the cycle, finishing with a delicate guitar after the brashness of the previous few minutes. The result is you wonder what the hell you just listened to. After several repeats, I'm still confused. I think I like it, but don't know why, it sounds dated, but so do the Crowes. There are bits that make you whoop with delight, others make you scream with aversion, but it doesn't offend, it doesn't leave much of a lasting impression either. Tricky - yes, Woo - sometimes.

Laurence Arnold
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002

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