Fugu Fugu 1

1 Fugu hails from Nancy, France, and is basically the work of Mehdi Zannad and about 20 other musicians. Upon first listen, it's as if someone is trying to re-record High Llamas' Gideon Gaye. The Beach Boy harmonies are there, the strings, trumpets and vibraphone, and hey, it's Laetitia from Stereolab offering vocals. You'll swear it's all been done before by someone that did it after another person started it over 30 years ago. However, after a few listens, Fugu 1, the brilliantly titled debut, grows on you, and soon you don't care that this is a reincarnation of a reincarnation. The songs are nice and friendly, the melodies are soothing and aside from one song sampling a crying baby (one of the worst sounds to sample, ever), everything here is peaceful. They have the folky playfulness of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci ("Grand Celesta"), the occasional Frenchness of Tahiti 80 ("Au Depart") and the voice of Paul McCartney ("Vibravox"). A fabulous record to play on your hi-fi in the den of your bachelor pad, or anywhere, reall (Minty Fresh)