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A Kiss In the Funhouse (The best songs of Louis Philippe... 1991-1999)

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Album Review

Louis Philippe has been crafting beautiful pop records that fall somewhere between Debussy and Brian Wilson for the better part of 15 years. With fans and contributors like High Llamas kingpin Sean O'Hagan and XTC's David Gregory (just to name two), Louis Philippe makes pop music that sounds like it came from the confectionary at a beautiful old neo-jetset theater. This stuff is sweet. But to simply write this music off as fey or ornate would do the artist (and the audience) a great disservice, for all of the songs included on this compilation are a triumphant declaration of Louis Philippe's skill as a songwriter/arranger. A Kiss in the Funhouse is a 23-track collection recorded for Japan's Trattoria label (released in America on Le Grand Magistery Records), featuring songs that at once evoke French pop from the mid-'60s and mine the rich and fertile pop soundscape that is "Beatles meet Bacharach." It is Philippe's sincerity, and his uncanny ability to sound happy, hazy, and decadent all at the same time, that would place him and his unique voice head and shoulders above his contemporaries, if he had any contemporaries to speak of. From chamber orchestra to big band and electronics, it is far more "punk rock" to play this style of music that almost any other, now that the world has moved out of the '90s and into the future. Although by no means comprehensive, A Kiss in the Funhouse is a perfect introduction that will leave you digging through record bins for more.


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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A Kiss In the Funhouse (The best songs of Louis Philippe... 1991-1999), Louis Philippe
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