Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Made In France

One of the things that was a pleasure during my promoting years was the people that I met, I would often see the same faces returning time and time again and little by little contact would be made. One of those people that I would often exchange words with was a young man from Valence who was studying at the University of Montpellier. At this time Mathias despite his height was already an imposing person with his red unruly mane of red hair setting him apart from the crowd. He was a big fan of music and had tastes that were not that far removed from my own and so when I was not busy and the band weren't on stage we would often chat. This was at the beginning of the 90's, and one recurrent subject of conversation was the group he had formed with friends back in his home town. The group is Dionysos who have proved to be one of the more interesting and vital French bands playing in the court of the Anglo Saxon ruled indie/alternative rock arena. Since releasing their first album in 1996, 'Happening Songs' and their latest 'Monsters In Love', 2005, they have treated us to seven albums, and quickly found themselves in favour with the specialist press. What was more surprising is that they also became staples of French radio despite their penchant for singing in English, this is ok for non French speakers but if this is not the case it is frowned down upon to abandon your native tongue!
For their fifth album they crossed the Atlantic to record 'Western Sous La Neige' with the legendary Steve Albini producing in that most American of towns Chicago. An album that firmly lived up to it's promise delivering a raw powerful rock at times counter balanced with a more reflective acoustic side complete with violin, I would like to point out that the violin is everpresent and capable of rocking out as well. The lyrics penned by Mathias, often very brief, display a cynic sense of humour that it always a pleasure to hear as on 'McEnroe's Poetry'. The album deservedly gave them their biggest hit to date in 'Song For A Jedi' I actually had a mental block on this song for some time being as I am one of those (rare) people that can't stand Star Wars. This of course was rather stupid, I think the first time I did hear it was on TV and they blew me away with this highly catchy song built on a very indie sounding riff that seduces your ears before you know it. Mixing French language verses with a charming female sung chorus in English, that manages to be both stomping and quirky at the same time.
Of note the bands latest album 'Monsters Of Love' was recorded in Dorset with John Parish of PJ Harvey fame producing. For those wishing to take the plunge Amazon UK and US both have the bands latest albums available from their sites.

I lived in France for a bit in 2002 and this song was ALL OVER the radio. It's utterly mental, but adorable. Love the lyrics. Especially the fairy bits.
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