Here are a batch of recent European releases. It must be noted, however that all of the albums covered in this article are in their native languages. Music does, however, cut across that divide. The fact that most of us can’t understand a word actually helps us focus on the musicianship.
If I was clever enough, I would review the album in the language in which it is written, but anyone who knows me realises the ridiculousness of that comment. So here we are, reviews of European language releases covered by an Englishman who despite living in France can barely order a beer in his adopted country!
Aguson – Aguson
Sweden’s Aguson, who up until this point had been in various pop orientated bands, reinvented himself when he started to listen to the likes of Townes Van Zandt and John Prine.
He instantly connected with the ‘honest expression’ he heard within the music and whilst remaining loyal to some of his pop roots began to inject some country into his songwriting. The result is this album and even though the likes of me can get frustrated from not being able to understand the words, an essential part of this style of music remains a pleasantly impressive listen.
Aguson builds around acoustic styling and impressively catchy songwriting. This is most definitely the case with the opening track, “Fran Vinst Till Forlust”. I would like to know what it’s about, strangely it still has the power to draw you in. The country soaked “Tank Om Tvivlet Inte Fanns”, “Lagtryck Over Stan”, the lovely “Ingenting”, and “Vapenbroder” all show the direction he is heading.
Whatever the language, well written country styled, acoustic music remains soulful, relevant, moving, and highly rewarding. You can almost fill in the lyrics yourself. Have a listen to the excellent Aguson on his website.
Mathieu Boogaerts – I Love You
Released in November, 2008, I Love You, is the eighth album in the career of one of France’s most popular contemporary singers. The style is best described as a combination of dub, light grunge, funk, electronica, with a huge push towards the pop market.
Mathieu's voice is gentle, and smooth, with the tracks often being minimalistic in approach. Very European, very French. Tracks such as "Come To Me", and "All I Wanna Do" which despite their titles are mostly sung in French, and "Chaque Fois" seem to be good illustrations of where this album is at.