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Cheval Sombre - Mad Love

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 30 / 10 / 2012

Cheval Sombre - Mad Love
Label: Sonic Cathedral
Format: CD


Fantastic lo-fi psychedelia on second album from New York-based singer-songwriter, Cheval Sombre

‘Mad Love‘ was the name of a 1935 film that starred Peter Lorre. It is also the name of Cheval Sombre's follow-up to his 2009 self-titled debut album. It was recorded with an arsenal of his friends which include the album's producer Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3; Dean Wareham and his partner Britta Phillips, both formerly of Luna, and Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden from MGMT. The New York artist’s album starts with ‘Someplace Else,’ which has a laid back air to it that is similar to that of Neil Halstead, who is now also signed to Sonic Cathedral, the same British label as Cheval Sombre. ‘She Went Walking in the Rain’ has lo-fi, but psychedelic undertones, and it is like a quiet but very reflective Jesus and Mary Chain. ‘Once I Had a Sweetheart’ is a traditional folk number that was previously covered by Pentangle and Joan Baez. It is as graceful as Nick Drake, but more off-kilter. ‘Walking in the Desert’ is a lo-fi folk number with a sinister undercurrent to it. It is like a Tindersticks record fronted by Neil Halstead, and is as perfect a slice of comedown as you might ever need. ‘The Nearness of You’ was originally a standard by Hoagy Carmichael, and is reminiscent of William Reid on an acoustic trip during his Lazycame period of oddness. ‘Couldn't Do’ is slow and mystical, the sort of psychedelic lo-fi folk number that Spacemen 3 did so very well although louder. Hypnotic in its beauty, it could also have sat on the Beatles ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ soundtrack, and is like a whole movie in a song. ‘I Fell in Love’ has an acoustic Jesus and Mary Chain feel, and, backed by lonesome strings, is just as lush and cinematic in its darkness. ‘February Blues’ is a long, but totally convincing slo-core folk number which is stripped down to its roots, ‘Red Moon’ is a Walkmen song, and is delivered in a country rock style, but again with an odd backing to add a more magical appeal to it. ‘Let Me Follow You Down‘, which ends the album, is like a downbeat Jesus and Mary Chain, and minimal with sad cello and added birdsong-like keyboards which give a summery lightness to it. ‘Mad Love’ is a fantastic album, which is very much worth the admission of your hard earned cash.

Track Listing:-
1 Someplace Else
2 She Went Walking in the Rain
3 Once I Had a Sweetheart
4 Walking in the Desert
5 The Nearness of You
6 Couldn't Do
7 I Fell in Love
8 February Blues
9 Red Moon
10 Let Me Follow You Down

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