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Christophe Miossec
A Prendre
PIAS

The two first albums, Boire and Baiser, recorded by Miossec (a native of Bretagne), are enough to give a not very nice image of him: an alcoholic man with a tormented mind, with blunt words, and he doesn't hesitate to notice his baseness and others meanness, grazing simultaneously the Men people. In fact, Miossec just tells, or sings, the everyday life, in his cruel but realistic words. These two albums are enough to rate him into the austere songwriters category, between Serge Gainsbourg and Philippe Leotard, with sometimes a disillusioned voice like these artists. But if the music of the two first albums was just a musical decor which accompanied the lyrics, now acoustic guitars now noisy guitars, it has an other role on the third album A Prendre, recorded with the help of Guillaume Jouan (composer, guitarist), Olivier Mellano (violinist, an old member of the great independent French 80's band Complot Bronswick, a kind of musical concept with multiple musicians), Yves-André Lefeuvre (drummer, also an old member of Complot Bronswick) and Bruno Green (producer).

The presence of strings (four violins), in particular with Le Chien Mouillé and Le Déménagement, of keyboards, samples and piano is undeniable, and this gives the album a musical consistency which didn't exist on the two first records. The voice is also different, "less embarrassing, fortunately more assiduous. When you hear your voice, on an answering machine or on an album, it's something which is strange and indecent", tells Miossec. However, he is as usual like himself. He doesn't hesitate to emphasise his weaknesses, to challenge himself or even to provoke people in concert "let's say that I'm not a real singer, that I'm not able to write a melody". Provocation, intellectual masochism, or simply a final protection against his shyness in front of live people?

On the third album, like the others, Miossec plays all the possible male roles, now singer, entertainer, worker, husband, now lover or even father, but not necessarily in good dispositions. His lyrics always disturb, but there are always some great songs like Le Voisin, L'Assistant Parlementaire (the only political-satirical track from Miossec), or Les Bières Aujourd'hui S'Ouvrent Manuellement, even if we can sometimes think that the break-up is imminent: "Si un de ces quatre je m'évapore, ça fait splaoutch, quelques vagues et plus rien..." , that is to say: "One day, if I evaporate myself, we can hear a splotch, a few waves and then nothing...". According to himself, everything deteriorates itself until the end, in particular the love stories, even if the death theme never appears distinctly. And if Miossec has a sense of humour, it's just sick humour. In any case, he regrets nothing, as he sings on Retour a L'Hotel: "On sait qu'il faut tourner la page, on aura fait preuve de tempérament, on aura au moins fait trembler les barreaux de la cage, on aura pas vécu tout doucement", which means: "We know we must turn the page, we have been hot-blooded, we have at least shaked the bars of the cage, we haven't lived softly".

Miossec, with character typical of the Breton climate, both calm and fiery, gives us an album which is more than a succession of songs. It's a fluid entity, A Prendre - to take - or to leave. In any case, apart from some reason, because Miossec "prefers to tell the damn-fools than always to have a reasonable and calm speech".

Copyright © 1998 Patrick Dubail e-mail address

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