Undoubtedly the work of a truly eccentric songwriter, the music of Etienne Charry's debut is approached with a pleasing disregard for stylistic boundaries. 36 Erreurs feels like a romp through the history of some imaginary pop culture. Charry flips through musical channels at daunting speeds, taking in fake game show themes, children's television programs, late-night spaghetti westerns, cop shows, and everything in between. Melodies are often kept short and simple; the focus is given over to the album's ever-shifting musical landscape instead. In fact, only eight of the album's 36 "mistakes" (as the album's title translates into English) break the two-minute mark, so little is allowed to get started before it is, rather abruptly, ended. The results could be disastrous were it not for the fact that Charry has a unique way for arranging his eclectic mini-compositions. He employs a baffling array of instruments from orchestral strings to a staggering armament of keyboard sounds. However, whether or not he has the ability to see the songs through to more extended (and perhaps more satisfying) lengths isn't entirely obvious from some of the material here. If there is a predominant style, it would have to be Charry's brand of sparse, angular, French dance music. For instance, the pulsating new wave rhythms of "Par Ici Al Monnaie" and "Rave du Bottin" make up two of 36 Erreurs most fully realized songs. Elsewhere, on "Tout Ma Vie" and "Prisen," Charry has crafted the sort of seductive pop that brings Serge Gainsbourg to mind. But even this material does little to brace the listener for the jarring genre hopping that is most prevalent. 36 Erreurs seems like an inappropriate title for the collection because, while much of the material here may be half-formed and rather chaotic, even then, the results seem entirely deliberate.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Nathan Bush