Jean-Yves Prieur, aka Kid Loco, is underappreciated amongst his trip-hop peers. Part of the issue is this: Keeping with the lazy, decadent atmosphere of his music, he's not exactly a workaholic. He may also be slightly overshadowed by his fellow Frenchmen Air, but his lush and smoky compositions were some of the most luxuriantly arranged of the late '90s. With 1997's A Grand Love Story and his timeless 1998 remix of St Etienne's "4.35 in the Morning," he created some of the few works that stand up with the best of the time.
It's clear on Confessions of a Belladonna Eater that even though, at age 45, he's not really a "Kid" anymore, his production and arrangement skills remain very much intact. Each track is layered with rippling pianos, accordions, strings, spaghetti western trumpet lines and all manner of other instrumentation. Most of them feature either female vocals or, more often, Prieur's own drawling, husky voice intoning lyrics of romance, seduction and dissipation. It's mood music of the highest order, but it also manages to incorporate nods to music past — the Kinks, late Beatles, Serge Gainsbourg, Lou Reed, Happy Mondays, even Can and Neu! — without simply resorting to a stylistic mish-mash. Prieur's melodies might be rudimentary, but the album's chugging repetitions draw you in with laid-back, hot summer night grooves, designed to be consumed with a bottle or three of vin rouge.