ODESSEY & ORACLE – Odessey & Oracle And The Casiotone Orchestra (Folkwit f0125)

O&OReaders with long memories may wonder why we are featuring a record by a band named after an album by a 60s pop group known for their imperfect spelling. The answer is probably stranger than the question.

Odessey & Oracle are Guillaume Médioni, Fanny L’Héritier and Alice Baudoin and, yes, they are French, this is their debut album.and yes again there are two Casiotone keyboards in the mix as well as electric guitars, banjo and viola da gamba. The music is all composed by Médioni with lyrics on the opening track ‘2016’ by Anaïs Blondet who also sings it. This track is representative of the album. It begins as pastoral folk-pop and strong lyrics – the record is mostly in English – but after three minutes or so Anaïs is obliterated by a cacophony of electric noises. I don’t think that any track finishes in the way it starts except, perhaps, for the seven short musical interludes or ‘Inventions’.

Once you get settled in, the album is very enjoyable. You have to accept mediaeval music, baroque instruments and a banjo in the same track but what the hell. Some of the songs are rather strange; ‘Alphabet’, whose lyrics frustratingly never get past G, for example. Then there’s ‘The Cat With Lipstick’ and ‘V.I.A.G.R.A’ and the totally bizarre ‘Night Of The Tacky Toys’ but if you can’t take it you shouldn’t have joined.

Back in the day we used to listen to music like this and nod wisely like we actually understood it – that’s not a bad approach to take here.

Dai Jeffries

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Website: Carton Records/Odessey & Oracle 

‘The Unicorn’ live at l’Épicerie Moderne: