wears the trousers magazine

get back guinozzi!: carpet madness (2009)
October 6, 2009, 9:00 am
Filed under: album, mp3, review | Tags: , , ,


Get Back Guinozzi!
Carpet Madness •••

Carpet Madness – the debut full-length from French duo Get Back Guinozzi! – includes a cover of the Junior Murvin reggae classic ‘Police & Thieves’, famously interpreted by The Clash, who doubtlessly saw parallels between the anarchic situation described in the lyrics and the societal unrest of late-’70s Britain. Get Back Guinozzi!’s approach strips away any such seriousness, restyling the song as brisk, summery indie-pop that makes the appearance of the coppers’ “guns and ammunition” seem like a cause for celebration. It’s an odd thing to do, but it’s by far the sanest moment on Carpet Madness.

Get Back Guinozzi! claim to draw influence from across the spectrum of indie rock (Talking Heads, The Smiths, The B-52s etc.) but when listening to Carpet Madness, the name that springs most easily to mind is Deerhoof. That’s not simply because the voice of singer Eglantine Gouzy closely resembles that of Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki. Much like the American band, Get Back Guinozzi!’s approach to making music is akin to the behaviour of a child with ADD in a toy shop. Seemingly overcome by the giddy excitement of singing their words and playing their instruments, the band show scant regard for normal generic boundaries. To put it more bluntly: this album is all over the place.

That’s not to say it’s impossible to discern specific influences over the course of the dozen tracks. The grey, smudgy musical backing of ‘Personal Lodger’ makes it sound like something by The Cure circa Faith. Gouzy’s jack-of-all-trades musical partner Fred Landini sounds as if he’s been following his Peter Hook bass payer handbook on ‘Sick’, while ‘Where Are You’ and ‘Low Files Tropical’ could be heard as approximations of The Slits’ jerky, afro-influenced punk. But none of these tracks could be considered an homage, as they generally have far too much stuff going on within them.

Indeed, Get Back Guinozzi!’s expressionistic methods occasionally allow them to chance upon new genres within individual tracks. ‘I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone’ begins as if it’s the band’s first attempt at a ballad, but then the vocals stop and the noise of what sounds like an asthmatic steam engine slowly assumes centre stage. The effect is strangely disquieting.  ‘L.A.’ is similarly demented: just at the point where you’d expect a middle eight or guitar solo, a disembodied male voice sternly announces, “This is a fucking nightmare to be here”, before the song dissolves into a morass of randomly pressed synths and screaming. Why? Get Back Guinozzi!’s response would probably be, “Why not?”.

Seasoned music listeners will be aware that albums that are sold primarily on qualities such as ‘expressionism’ and – gulp – ‘originality’ tend to enjoy fairly distant relationships with Mr Tune, and so it proves here. The closest we get to a melody that sticks is on ‘Jungely’, and even then the chorus possesses all the grace of John Prescott at a roller disco. And yet, despite all this, Carpet Madness is an album that’s really hard to dislike. It could even be described as addictive: you may well find yourself going back for repeated servings, if only in an effort to work out what the hell is going on.

Christopher Monk
UK release date: 26/10/09; www.myspace.com/getbackguinozzi

FREE MP3: Get Back Guinozzi, ‘Police & Thieves’


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