Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Press Color

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Press Color

Lizzy Mercier Descloux

If you've ever heard Françoise Cactus exclaim and gasp her way through Stereo Total's ironic Eurotrash indie-pop, then you've heard this French-born, Manhattan-based rocker's inspired amateurism one degree removed. Typically playing single notes in imaginary, discordant scales rather than actual chords, Lizzy Mercier Descloux isn't much of a guitarist, and less of a singer.

The Downtown Scene filtered through a Frenchwoman’s ears.

But there's a compelling tension to her debut album that confirms the theory that one might get away with nearly every minimalist doodle and wrong note if your rhythm section's tight. For her remake of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown's “Fire,” she calls in some session pros for a Savarese-mixed confection that resembles KISS'deliciously tacky disco-rock milestone “I Was Made for Lovin'You” but with a nutty French lady on top.

This 2003 reissue combines her 1979 solo debut album with her 1978 French language Rosa Yemen EP. There's either rudimentary drumming or none at all, yet the tracks are so Wire-tense and terse that they remain percussive. The capper is her 1995 reunion with former flat mate Patti Smith on a bilingual reading of Arthur Rimbaud's poem "Matinée d'ivresse/Morning High" with Material's Bill Laswell supplying background hum.