The Cat. Not Me.
Marianne Dissard’s breathy – evocative – voice is so easy to fall for, she’s chanteuse remade as indie-rocker, part French balladeer, part southern gothic. But most recent album, The Cat. Not Me. has an urgency to numbers such as Mouton bercail – a liveliness, it’s not just dreamy, romantic waft. Here’s the sound of windswept arrangements but with the drive and attack of a rock band too – and that voice remains spellbound, spellbinding…
There’s doom and gloom imagery and discordant surf-rock guitars, but there’s also a grand, sweeping majesty to it all as well. It’s the bittersweet balladry of Nicole Atkins, dressed in a similarly dusty attire – but, en Francais.
And there’s something in – and around – that voice. Something so easy to love. Pomme feels like a Serge Gainsbourg song, a playfulness in the arrangement – some deft ‘placement’ in the phrasing.
Je Ne Le Savais Pas (or I Didn’t Know) offers some throwback to Britpop’s most dramatic moments – those widescreen arrangements favoured later in the careers of Blur and Pulp for instance. And again, it’s the way Dissard sings – as well as the gorgeousness of the language – that frames up the song. Has it hanging resplendent.
The Cat. Not Me. is Dissard’s finale to a trilogy of “Tucson” albums. It’s her finest work too. It’s the culmination of her ideas to blend chanson with that strange, beguiling blend of blues and country musics from the desert.