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July 28 - August 4, 2000

[Music Reviews]

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*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
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