Cheval Sombre -‘Cheval Sombre.’ (Double Feature Records)
A few weeks ago, along with a considerable amount of other stuff, an mp3 by Cheval Sombre entitled ‘Little Bit Of Heaven’ arrived in my inbox. It was fantastic, I played it lots, blogged about them, and eagerly took them up on the offer of the album. It has not disappointed one iota.
Though this is the debut for the New York City one man band, this album has had a fairly long genesis. Initial recordings that took place in NYC, were sent to Sonic Boom (once part of Spaceman 3, now Spectrum). Recording sessions with Boom took place over the next two years in both NYC and Rugby, England. This is absoute proof that working on an album over a long period of time can really bring rewards.
As well as the aforementioned Sonic Boom, the album also features contributions from Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham (once of Galaxie 500, and subsequently Luna). Given the help from these artists it would be easy to simply say ‘buy this album if you like Spaceman 3, Luna, Galaxie 500 and the related offshoots.’
But the reality is that there’s so much more to it than just being another album involving these artists. This is a fantastic debut album, when drone, psychedelia and, yes, American folk come together. Two of the songs ‘Troubled Mind’ and ‘I’ve Been All Around This World’ are traditional songs that have been arranged by cheval Sombre. There is also a cover of the Doors’ ‘Hyacinth House’ (originally on L.A. Woman) which shows that when people are talking about drone and psychedelia, Jim Morrison and his merry men should been cited more often as an obvious influence (step forward Wooden Shjips). A number of the songs have been issued on limited 7″s before in the UK, this release brings them together for the first time.
This is simply a blissful record that takes its’ influences and participants and ends up being even more than the sum of its’ parts. If there is any justice, this deserves to do well in end of year polls. It’s hard to believe that music fans who hear it wouldn’t fall in love with it.
Cheval Sombre will be released on import on April 27 in the UK and released on April 28 in the US. It will be available on Amazon downloads. the ‘It’s A Shame/Little Bit Of Heaven’ download single is availbale on both eMusic and iTunes, though bizarrely, they both list the band as Chevral Sombre. Go figure…