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Troublemakers - Doubts And Convictions

  by John Clarkson

published: 9 / 3 / 2003

Troublemakers - Doubts And Convictions
Label: Play It Again Sam
Format: CD


Diverse and exhilarating electronica on welcome re-release of Marseille trio Troublemakers' debut album, which takes its inspiration from funk, hip-hop, jazz ,and Blaxploitation

Any album that cites such assorted personalities as Luke Skywalker, the Beatles and Ennio Morricone amongst its sleeve credits is bound to be a pretty eclectic affair. The writers Charles Bukowski and William Burroughs ; film directors Jean-Luc Godard, John Cassavetes and Robert Bresson ; actors Jim Brown and Jean-Pierre Leaud ; painter David Hockney and poet and philosopher Arthur Rimbaud are all also included. The Marseille electronic trio Troublemakers’ debut album ‘Doubts and Convictions’ is indeed diverse, but. as well as being diverse, it is, however, also unique. A complete one-off, it first came out on the small French label Guidance two years ago, but has now been re-released by the Belgian label PIAS. Inspired by funk, hip-hop, jazz , Blaxploitation and other movie soundtracks, ‘Doubts and Convictions’ seamlessly merges together its nostalgic, largely 70’s collection of influences with an electronica sound that is decidely of the 21st century. The album’s crowning moment is its seven minute middle track ‘Electrolage’ which, vaguely reminiscent of Primal Scream during their ‘Screamedelica’ era , combines a grooving funk sound with ambient dub beats and a chanted, sampled vocal. Elsewhere smouldering new single ‘Get Misunderstood’ fuses the epic,swirling beauty of a majestic Morricone film score, such as ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ or ‘Casualties of War’, with a million-years-old, world-weary Nina Simone style vocal. Neither of the album’s opening two tracks, ‘Street Preacher’ and ‘Too Old to Die’, meanwhile would have been out of place on one of the original ‘Shaft’ film soundtracks. One can easily imagine Richard Roundtree, gun in hand, slinking up the fire escape or along the corridors of a seedy Harlem slum to both their dark jazzy funk growls. The more trite ‘Hum Hum’ looks slightly further back in time for influence, and merges light. skittery electronica with camp, comical Austin Powers-style 60’s dialogue and sexual innuendo. The menacing ‘Black City’, however, in contrast, lifts Bernard Hermann’s pulsating rock score and Robert De Niro’s ‘Some day a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets’ speech from the film ‘Taxi Driver’, and then grafts a sinister synth riff and strings, and a chilling piano solo over the top of them. Exhilarating, inventive, witty and constantly engaging and surprising, ‘Doubts and Convictions’ is that rarest of things, intelligent music that has also been performed with a genuine sense of wamth, passion and conviction . In its 70 minute plus running time, unusually again in an era in which more often means less, there is not a dull moment. Even non-fans of the ever fertile French electronica music scene should find much to enjoy on this one.

Track Listing:-
1 Street Preacher
2 Too Old To Die
3 Noces Africaines
4 Awake
5 Get Misunderstood
6 Electrorloge
7 Fatigue Universelle
8 Chez Roger Boite Funk
9 Hum Hum
10 Groover Is Back
11 Black City

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