The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Here's a tune that's on French radio almost as much as the traffic reports, and we figure there's a good chance you'll be hearing it on the Eire-waves very soon too.

Freddy McQuinnThe guy's name is Freddy McQuinn. Despite his Anglophone (almost Irish) name he's apparently a born Parisian, though he's spent many years in London. But you can hear the French phrasing when he sings.

McQuinn was a fairly popular DJ for many years, mostly as part of a collective called Marathon Men who had a soul-funk-electronica sound. (Think of Gilles Peterson's taste in tunes and you'll get the idea.) But for his first solo album, 'Exile On Brick Lane', he's become something of a jazz-soul troubadour, playing acoustic guitar onstage with a band.

Your blogger really isn't into jazz-soul-pop as anything other than aural wallpaper to have on when Chateau French Letter needs cleaning. But one of McQuinn's tunes, the one with airplay ubiquity, has us putting down the feather-duster for a closer listen.

The song is called 'Chasing Rainbows', and that rather bland title is a good indicator of the genre: coffee-table jazz pop à la  Jamie Cullum. But while this song's syncopated rhythm and be-bop trumpet line may sound familiar, McQuinn manages to put some personality into the track. His French phrasing gives the vocal line a slightly off-kilter feel, and the lyrics have an agreeable streak of arrogance in them, especially the chorus hook: "I'm better than the rest".

Anyway, it's a radio-friendly song - and McQuinn's English name should make it easier for him to appear on UK and Irish playlists. The rest of his songs are closer to funk than the jazziness of 'Chasing Rainbows', and calling your songs 'Bitch' and 'Sex Obsession' is really not good. (The songs live down to their titles.) But as we always say, one good song is one more than most acts have.

There's no video for 'Chasing Rainbows' yet, so you'll have to pop over to Freddy McQuinn's MySpace page to hear it.

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Nuggets from our archive

2008 - A comprehensive guide to recording an album, written by Andy Knightly (the guide is spread over 4 parts).