Françoiz Breut Vingt A Trente Mille Jours

Françoiz Breut follows the great European tradition of the chanteuse: a lounge singer that doesn't waste a single syllable when it comes to sensuality. Her second album, Vingt A Trente Mille Jours, doesn't really cover any new ground, but that can be forgiven, considering the results. She has managed to assemble quite the star-studded cast to collaborate with this time round: there are members of Calexico, and Little Rabbits and Autour De Lucie perform, plus the majority of the songs were written for her by friends (the most recognisable being Dominique A, who also wrote all the songs on Breut's debut). All the songs, apart from a Peggy Lee cover, are sung in French, but that doesn't disguise the range of emotion she manages to display. Most songs have a melancholy feel - there's nothing that could be described as upbeat and the majority of them crawl along at a pace slightly faster than that of a snail. The music has the same kind of sinister sound that Portishead does so well, with full, rich arrangements using a full orchestra, at times. I suppose that you could call Breut a torch singer and be done with it, but that would be far too simple and this isn't a simple album. Vingt A Trente Mille Jours probably won't find a wide audience, but those hunting around off the beaten path might be able to discover this rather beautiful little album. (Triage)