All their Broken Hearts: a Tribute to Julie Doiron

/paperheart; 2003/




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This compilation is a tribute to ex-Eric’s trip Julie Doiron whose solo albums are rife with lo-fi fragile and depressive folk pieces. Released by Paperheart label (based both in Belgium and Canada), this cd contains 26 songs, which will delight fans and might bother beginners. However, Paperheart apparently did not reject cover songs people sent them so the range of interpretations enables every lo-fi lover to discover pearls. Let’s pass over the introductory and conclusive pieces half-sung half-joke by one-time band Men which hides Mark Gaudet from Eric’s Trip.

The Herman Dune brothers headline this tribute but they just play Doiron’s songs with their bluesy style, paying attention not to betray her original intention. In fact, most tracks are close to the originals. Consequently, the quality of the track often depends on the singer’s voice ability to move you. When the voice happens to be a male one, it introduces a personal touch but the magic often fades away. Superxxman (aka Scott Gared from Silver Scooter) fails to be touching as Julie was with ‘Sweeter’. Sorry, same story with Neil Haverty, Wio, Orange Glass, The Soft Eyes, Snailhouse. Sometimes it just works: thanks to The Radiators, Nude’s live belief in ‘oh, these walls’, Mark Raymond who makes ‘Gone, gone’ as shivering as Julie’s but in a more resigned way.

What to think of Loic Bo and Call Me Loretta who seem to treasure background noise and 4-track recording ? They probably believed that all the bands would pay homage to Doiron’s lo-fi spirit (particularly CML whose cover seems to be recorded on a used tape). It’s 2003 and everyone has its own home recording hardware… Anyway, either it will make you take them for complete losers or it gives them a particular fragile tone that other try here to achieve in vain. It’s up to you.

In the end, bands that draw attention are those which dared change the original songs and thus venture out of the overwhelming fragile folk lo-fi format of the album. Marroon Loves Blue, Lousy and Lackadaisical Daisy cover Julie’s song in an electric lo-fi way referring to Eric’s Trip. Evie hesitates between Eric’s Trip and lo-fi shoegazing. The best song of the genre is ex-Eric’s Trip Chris Thompson’s Moon Socket’s version of ‘the best thing for me’

Tino unfortunately transforms the beautiful and fragile ‘Condescending You’ in a new wave track sung in a crooner way and scarred by a strange guitar part reminiscent of Rolling Stones ‘Paint it Black’ which is in other respects a great song but just puzzles here. Melochrome changes ‘the last time’ into a dull synth ballad encrusted with fashionable electronic flourishes.

On the other hand, Thee Moth’s version of ‘soon coming closer’ has a very delightful 80’s feeling about it. Frenchmen Quaisoir intersperse ‘All Their Broken Hearts’ with peculiar radio excerpts, decorate it with many sounds to make the atmosphere more subtle and improve it from its original version. Finally, let’s credit the best song to Exact Match for their Death Cab for Cuttie-esque version of ‘And there is still enough’.

-Blacklisted ‘Broken heart’ Igor.

/oct 1st 2003/