1982 Sounds

album review



ANOTHER MUSIC from a different kitsching. This six track mini LP on Belgium’s Crammed Discs (I hereby express my disgust at the lack of vision and general dullness of the UK labels who refused her) contains songs penned by Roy Orbison, Nick Lowe, lan Kane and others. Musical backings are kept to a minimum: mistily-tinkled piano keys, occasional snaking columns of cello and a bit of fake jazzy sax.

Hermine is French and continues to exercise her almost petulant, devil-may-care abuse of bland English vowel sounds. It is this foreign larynx wrapping itself around, and warbling through, these songs that gives rise to the common 'torch singer' description.

Ridiculous! Hermine's beam is a Woolworth’s orange plastic job running on penlight batteries and not designed to illuminate a schmaltzy stroll down lovers lane.

Her quietly dazzling ability is to tread excruciatingly close to cabaret novelty yet shed light on the contradictions/dogma/bullshit lurking within these songs (chosen for weirdly mangled reasons of liking and loathing), juggle with accepted listener expectations and subtly dislodge the familiar into the realms of the quite bizarre.

This vinyl succeeds in capturing the humorous but strangely unsettling talent of Hermine which she displays live where her two singles, 'Torture' and 'TV Lovers', despite being likeable oddities, failed.

Six songs allow time to savour and soak in the Hermine experience. In place of her intriguing, revealing, peel-off costumes she dresses this waxing's sleeve notes in the polka dot folds of her dress.

The cover pic finds her loading records into a dish washer; the cardboard itself has a tangible lumpy texture, like running your fingers over little congealed blobs of spit.

Hermine is having a laugh and a say and offering you her world... on a plate.

How to digest it is up to you.


mick sinclair

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To read many more articles and reviews (over 140,000 words-worth!) written by Mick Sinclair, buy Adjusting the Stars: Music journalism from post-punk London