Naked (On Drugs)
Franco-Manc duo with an artful combination of sleaze and menace.
The lineup: Sebastien Perrin (vocals), Luke Byron Scott (guitar).
The background: There’s a photo of today’s new duo, naked, although whether they’re on drugs we can’t tell. We can tell, however, that the photo of them was taken in the bath, which is fitting because they actually sound dirty, not to mention look it. Seedy, unsavoury. Like they’ve been living in grim bedsits and doing unseemly things in dank cellars. Put it this way: you wouldn’t allow your daughter to spend more than five minutes with them any more than you would permit them to, say, marry a Rolling Stone.
They’re handsome devils, these Mancunian boys, which adds to their threat. Actually, they came from Lyon and Milton Keynes to bring a sense of boho art sleaze to the city. It’s not a very Manc noise they make – no pristine machine disco for them, and they don’t do lad indie. Instead, they plough a (dingy, dark) furrow started by the Doors and continued by everyone from the Bunnymen to the Bad Seeds, with vocals that mix the poetic baritone with elements of menace and mischief. Expect not just rock but swathes of Eastern European folk on their debut single Lee Ann’s Skin / Araki Dinosaurs, parts of which sound a bit like Scott Walker ODing on klezmer.
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It’s a great single, even if it might leave you feeling a little grubby. Lee Ann’s Skin opens with double bass, pure chamber baroque, before shifting gear and moving at a Killing Moon pace, with twangy C&W guitar, sobbing violin and eerie effects to sustain your interest if that voice on its own doesn’t do the trick, although it should – it is sleazoid charm personified. The voice takes a turn for the weird on Araki Dinosaurs. Over a tinny pulse reminiscent of Suicide, our dodgy heroes croon like Dalek lotharios, either about “soccer moms” or advising their prey to “suck your mouths” – apologies, we don’t speak skaro. It’s blues, Jim (Morrison), but not as we know it, unless someone has already made a record fusing cyber-Beefheart growls, handclaps, an askew jig and the frantic hiss of circuitry and we missed it? From its title we were expecting Death Dance to be an unsightly hybrid of Dance Stance and Death Disco and it’s only slightly less misshapen than that, all clarinet blasts over percussion that sounds like the kitchen synched to a dancing robot and lyrics about snapping someone’s neck. They should never have got out the bath.