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TOPETTE!! - Bourdon 

TOPETTE!! - Bourdon 
Private Label TPT004 

Back with a buzz, this third album from Anglo-French funsters Topette!! sees them playing with power, poise, panache and punctuation. Barn Stradling's Just Heavy kicks off a game which mainly goes France's way - branles, bourrées, polkas, mazurkas and more, a mix of traditional trouvailles and the compositions of Cartonnet, Cutting and Delarre. There's a striking moment of Englishness with The Blue-Eyed Stranger and a couple of exotic jewels in a Swedish Halling and the Pennsylvania oldtime Hog Of The Forsaken by Michael Hurley, but most of Bourdon leans towards the drones and dances of central France.

Pipes and melodeon, fiddle and banjo, bass guitar and a bit of judicious beating by Tania Buisse make this a varied and exhilarating CD. The rhythm drives on, the sound is rich and earthy, and the tunes are just great. Les Trois Canards, Mazurka À Lucas, Polka Know and Clanders Batch bore into the brain like musical masonry bees, making themselves comfortably at home almost immediately. Delarre's Year Of The Metal Rat is a more languid affair, seeping into dreams and slipping quietly into the subconscious. Cutting's jaunty Long Legs reprises the insectoid theme before that cryptic American fiddle tune takes dazzling flight. Bourdon ends with the traditional triple-time bourrée, La Couturière, at a relaxed pace, backed by continuo lines on pipes, fiddle, banjo, box and bass. I thoroughly enjoyed this whole album.

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 144 of The Living Tradition magazine