Manu Louis – Kermesse Machine (Igloo Records)
A beguiling mixture of electro, brass band music, 8-bit and any number of other styles from the Belgian artist.
The glorious brass influence asserts itself in the building opener ‘Music from the hot dog stand’, toy drums and organ stabs giving way to a furious atmosphere of snare rolls with frantic brass action anchored by a great parping tuba.
The filthy synth bassline of ‘Tchouang-Tseu (was at the Kermesse of M. Ha)’ screams electro but the melody and other top notes have more of an 8-bit feel. All good.
‘Karaoke’ has a wonderful off kilter backbeat, jerky, restless and capable of ripping up any dancefloor (sounding vaguely like a Balkan band transplanted to the Caribbean), the brass again adding a great insinuating undertone.
The rest of the album contains other pleasures – the ominous syncopations and noise distortions of ‘Playback’, the Franco-jazz meets bar room singalong of ‘Sylvie, reviens’ and more – but this opening salvo really is killer.
It’s a rowdy, joyous affair full of eminently danceable tunes.