Toupidek Limonade - "Il y a Des Nuits et Des Nuits"
(Musea/Gazul Records 2000, GA 8633.AR)
From Aural Innovations #12 (September 2000)
Toupidek Limonade was a French band formed in the mid-1980's that plays music fitting nicely in with the Rock In Opposition group of bands. The band was a trio consisting of Jean CaŽl, Kwettap Ieuw, and Denis Tagu. It looks like the CD is a compilation consisting of previously released material from the mid-80's, and some a few tracks from the early 1990's. The promo material describes the band as being close to the directions taken by Guigou Chenevier of Etron Fou LeLoublon, and this is an accurate description. However, while Toupidek Limonade exhibits much of the playfulness that characterized Etron Fou (and even at times Zut Un Feu Rouge), the music is more abstract and sometimes minimalist than most of the more prominent RIO bands.
Piano, keyboards, and avant garde cabaret styled vocals the prime movers here. I especially enjoyed the piano pieces with the wild abstract percussion and vocals. "Let's Triste Again" includes a plodding off-key bass, and freaky vocalizations. The piano, though, is the lead instrument and though it may be ever so slightly dissonant at times it is the one renegade source of melody in the song. "Ma Solitude Nocturne" features organ Š la Jo Thiron and is accompanied by odd found sounds and vocals from Ieuw that is a dead ringer for Suzanne Lewis.
"Chant Traditionnel GroŽnlandais" is one of the more abstract tunes, with its playful piano, percussion and vocals bring to mind a drunken party at an avant garde performance space pub. "Les Soirťes de St Petersbourg" has lots of subtle variety as the song meanders through multiple plodding piano segments. There's really not much going on here but I was strangely attracted to it nonetheless. And "Margot" was a standout track coming across as an avant jam session of sorts. Some nice aggressive piano bashing and angry demented shouting.
In summary, Toupidek Limonade's music is enjoyable, has it's moments of charm, and will certainly appeal to hardcore fans of the European RIO bands. But beyond having immersed myself in the CD for the purpose of this review I'm not likely to return to it. I enjoyed the music but it lacked the variety and energy to really get me fired up. Still, if you're into Etron Fou, Zut Un Feu Rouge, and early Thinking Plague, then Toupidek Limonade is probably worth picking up as a lesser known 1980's example of RIO styled avant rock.
Il y a Des Nuits et Des Nuits is distributed by Gazul, a division of Musea Records. You can visit their web site.