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Jackie Girl

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Album Review

Jackie Girl (named in tribute to '60s chanteuse Jackie DeShannon) may not quite have the pop smarts of Sunshine, or the heady orchestral textures of Azure, but it's nevertheless a fascinating stopping-off point between the two. Utilizing his broadest palette to date, including then-XTC guitarist David Gregory, Louis Philippe succeeds in giving songs like "Every Day Gone By" and "She Means Everything to Me" a muscularity and an edge that were missing from Sunshine. The title track, too, has few precedents in Philippe's canon, with its plangent tremolo guitars and wah-wah brass. Yet as usual with Philippe, melody remains in charge throughout, from the joyous exoticism a-go-go of "Oiseau de Paradis" to the unabashedly cinematic "Mr Songbird." Two instrumentals, "La Pointe du Jour" and "The Girl in the Attic," also suggest that Phillipe Auclair is a soundtrack composer waiting to happen. Yet it's a leftover from the Sunshine sessions that provides Jackie Girl with its most stunning six minutes. "Deauville" is a starkly dramatic ballad, with a brooding, Bernard Herrmann-esque string arrangement that would grace any Scott Walker album. In what was becoming an all-too-familiar story for Philippe's followers, Jackie Girl — released this time only on the Spanish label Siesta — was sketchily distributed and promoted in the U.S. and U.K. to the point where even his most loyal fans could have missed it entirely. It may not be his most consistent work, but its high points are very high indeed.


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Louis Philippe may still be best known as a purveyor of creamy pop confections for Mike Alway's wonderfully eccentric él label, yet his work continued to deepen and develop long after él bit the dust in 1989. He once described his music as "covering the range from pure bubblegum to symphonic sweep, with detours via jazz and soul along the way. A typical album might mix influences from vintage pop, French chanson, Ravel, bossa nova, Duke Ellington, the Shirelles, or the Beach Boys, while classical...
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Jackie Girl, Louis Philippe
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