Album Review: Hot Club de Paris – With Days Like This as Cheap as Chewing Gum, Why Would Anyone Want to Work? EP

By on Monday, 1st March 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Sunday night, the 22nd of April 2007. I was sat up in the balcony of Shepherd’s Bush Empire, looking down on Liverpool trio Hot Club de Paris as they played their opening set right before Carl Barat’s Dirty Pretty Things. I’d never heard of these three blokes before but I have to say, nearly 3 years on now, I still remember being impressed by their angular brand of rock, even though I didn’t know any of their songs. One song, ‘Shipwreck’, got the crowd really excited. At the time I wasn’t a blogger of course, so the details are fuzzy and I was there primarily for the DPT experience. But now that I have heard Hot Club de Paris’s latest effort, six songs put together as an EP stop-gap between albums, I’ll be paying attention to where these Liverpudlians go musically in the near future. The cheekily-titled EP ‘With Days Like This as Cheap as Chewing Gum, Why Would Anyone Want to Work?’ is borrowed from a poem by Nottingham poet Matthew Welton, a favourite writer of lead singer/lyricist Paul Rafferty. Further, according to an interview in Clash Music Magazine, Rafferty admitted that their band has a decidedly DIY outlook on making music, choosing to record and produce this EP entirely on their own.

‘Dance a Ragged Dance’ is the opening number: it’s got a great vibe and equally great lyrics, like “buildings / booked basement parties, sad times / the moonlight lit a kiss on the stairs“. Lovely. There’s also the proclamation of ‘we can either dance or die!‘ that wins points with me. Rafferty admitted to Clash Music that he is a fan of song lyrics, definitely a man after my own heart. The humble xylophone seem to be the instrument du jour these days, and Hot Club de Paris has gotten in on the act as well, using a xylophone’s notes to segue from into the next song, ‘Fuck You, the Truth’. ‘Song’ might be the wrong word to use, as it’s more of a spoken word tirade that you might expect, say, at a home game at Anfield sometime soon. Come to think of it, the Love Music Hate Racism people might do well to ring up these blokes because I think their style of music might be useful in writing a campaign anthem.


I’m not really sure where the band was going with the outro of ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’ It almost feels like it was tacked on later when they felt like aping the Rolling Stones. I don’t mind rocking instrumental outros; the ending just seemed so different from the rest of the song that preceded it, which I far preferred: a shoutfest laid on top of seemingly part Oriental / part Scottish (?) rhythm. This is the style I think best represents this band’s brand of art punk and is what they do best, as evidenced by ‘Dog Tired at the Spring Dance Marathon,’ for sure a mouthful of a title, but a great marriage between melodic vocals and guitars put together to create something special.

If I had to choose, ‘Noses Blazing’ is probably the track on this EP with the most radio hit-making potential. Short (just over the 2-minute mark) and simple (voice, guitars, and drums, the basics of a rock band), it’s proof it’s certainly possible to write a tight piece of pop without overthinking it. And to round things off is ‘Extra Time, Sudden Death’. What did I say before about stadium chants? Just reading the title of this one makes you think of the football pitch, and this is Hot Club de Paris’s football song. I’ll have to ask them about it sometime…

8/10

Hot Club de Paris’s new EP ‘With Days Like This as Cheap as Chewing Gum, Why Would Anyone Want to Work?’ was released last week (22 February) is available now as on iTunes and as a limited edition 10″ from Moshi Moshi Records’s online shop.

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[…] release, the ‘With Days Like This as Cheap as Chewing Gum, Why Would Anyone Want to Work?’ EP (reviewed last month here at TGTF), is available now from Moshi Moshi […]

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