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Record Review 

Best Of Allez Allez - Allez Allez (Eskimo)

By Phil Thornton

 

Only the other day I bought a ropey compilation, mainly for a Vince Montana track but the stand-out tune was Allez Allez’s ‘Flesh & Blood’ with its ‘You Should Be Dancing’ horn coda and early 80s scratchy white funk. To be honest, Allez Allez must’ve passed me by, so I did a spot of googling and youtubing and the very next day this compilation was posted from the good people at epm. Serendipity? Co-incidence? Or something much stranger? Who gives a fuck?

 

Anyways, this compilation is a must for anyone with a penchant for post-punk faux funk. Opener, African Queen sounds so much like Grace Jones circa Nightclubbing that I think it’s perhaps a tribute to Queen Grace herself.

 

Allez Allez has a lyric that sounds like “Help me, help me, Gary Barlow!”  I’m sure it doesn’t say that but it should. It’s ace and gets two remixes from heroes of the hour, Aeroplane and Lindstrom & Prince Harry.

 

She’s Stirring Up has elements of Debbie Harry’s shite rapping on Rapture set to a frantic Haircut 100 backbeat whereas Marathon Dance is Defunkt meets the Gang Of Four  with a splash of Talking Heads thrown in for good measure.

 

Turn Up The Meter  is a Rip Rig & Panic meet UB40 style groove and Valley Of The Kings is the sort of corny cod-Egyptian concept track T‘Pau would‘ve based a whole double album around.

 

Wrap Your Legs (Around Your Head) is of course a play on the Gap Band’s ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ but in its delivery sounds far closer to the  great bootboy chant ‘Boots Wrapped Round Yer Head.‘ Were Allez Allez familiar with the mating rituals of the Anny Road or the Scoreboard Paddock? I certainly hope so but somehow doubt it.

 

Flesh & Blood is next in all its magnificent slinky disco glory with a vocal that sounds like Billy MacKenzie fucking Minnie Ripperton and a boss mandolin solo competing with a cartoon woggawoggawogga sound effect.

 

Next comes the remixes. Quiet Village do their Quiet Village thing on African Queen, stripping back almost every element to leave the bare bones of a tune, which is, let’s face it, what Quiet Village are so good at. It never really gets going or goes anywhere but does so delightfully with eerie jungle sounds and monastic chants. Like staring at flock wallpaper without blinking, it becomes hypnotic after a few minutes.

 

The Aeroplane remix of Allez Allez does that Aeroplane thing that Aeroplane do so well, creating a gorgeous piano house groove that goes on for several centuries before the black plague kills everyone horrifically. Next up we have Optimo (Espacio) doing their Optimo (Escapio) thing on a ’Drum Attack’ mix of She’s Stirring Up which stretches the groove so far that it circles the sun and comes home in time for tea (fish fingers with winter mash).

 

Lindstrom & Prince Michael of Kent complete the Eskimo All-Star remix challenge with another rather L&PT-centric remix of Allez Allez. For the life of me it sounds exactly like a Lindstrom & Prince Nazeem Hamid remix of an Allez Allez track called Allez Allez track should sound like. The descending piano riff gets its coat on, takes the dog for a walk and makes a packed lunch for the old folk down the road’s day-trip to Llandudno before climbing onboard a bus, going to town for a browse around Primark and having a swift bevvy in the Beehive before calling in on his cousin to watch The Wire series three in one sitting. Or something.

 

As St Etienne fans once sang ’Allez Les Verts’ but that’s neither here nor there.

 

Café del Lar Jukebox Ten   

Casa Forte – Sergio Mendes (Hamlet) 

Does Your Mama Like To Reggae – JJ Cale (Mercury)

Good & Plenty – Carolyn Crawford (Philly Int)

Too Much Attention – Gilbert O’Sullivan (Mam)

Jumping The Gun – Rico (Trojan)

Groove Check (Dub) – That Petrol Emotion (Virgin)

Just To Settle My Nerves – Charles Wright (Warner Bros)

Night Train – Steve Winwood (Island)

(Do The) Instant Mash  – Joe Jackson (Hallmark)

He-O – Vangelis (Superstar)

 

 

 

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