*1/2 Étienne Charry
Free for the moment
from soundtracking French animation films and commercials, Étienne
Charry has opted to express himself on his own full-length by adhering to the
same abbreviated structure that characterizes his other compositional callings.
So these 36 cutesy whatchamacallits average 1:47 and add up to the latest
advertisement for hip from the continent (the French apparently still feel they
have a lot to prove). The tracks command a generous sonic spectrum, with
surf-guitar runs, hebephrenic sing-alongs, and just enough lo-fi to fool
listeners into taking them as something deeper than kitschy kicks.
Charry thinks he's being modest when he calls these numbers erreurs
("errors") -- as he puts it in the liner notes, "I know it doesn't conform to
today's market." But when he admits that "the songs could have lasted longer
but I was afraid of taking up your time," he doesn't realize that slamming each
one into the next to create one 53-minute station break is not just taking up
our time but wasting it. The impression that remains is of a cumulatively
annoying and self-satisfied whole. Which may suit hipsters just fine -- no use
in being moved by individual song forms. The rest of us will wait for a cooler
friend to wow us by tagging one of these tatters onto the end of a mix tape.
-- Kevin John