With a name like Paris Suit Yourself, an album called My Main Shitstain, and an album cover reminiscent of Yeasayer's Odd Blood, but eerier, it's hard to know what to expect from the multinational quartet's debut full-length (released on Ninja Tune offshoot Big Dada) besides, well, the unexpected. And unexpected it is. The band pulls from many sources: hip-hop, Afro-beat, French pop, blues, and dub reggae, but despite this, there's nothing ornate or even particularly complex about the songs. Instead, it's proto-punk lo-fi experimentation; everything's been stripped down to nearly its most minimal, so much so that it often sounds more like a duet is playing rather than a foursome. Compositions are simple -- a bassline starts, the drums pound themselves in, and frontman Luvinsky Atche begins singing -- or talking, or growling -- often in a Tunde Adebimpe-esque falsetto, but also mimicking ODB ("Surprise"), David Byrne ("Rollin' On"), Serge Gainsbourg ("Brainwashed"), Saul Williams ("Lost My Girl"), and even Fela Kuti ("Craig Machinsky"). It's hard to predict what he's going to next, and it works, keeping the listener a bit on edge, unable to settle down into the music. This energy and the approach are reminiscent of the Eternals, the Kills, or even King Khan & BBQ Show, but simply calling Paris Suit Yourself an inventive indie rock band isn't quite getting it. There's something unbridled and raw under all of this, something compellingly urgent, but at the same time, something utterly strange, almost implacably so. "I'm not coming back/Oh please come back," Atche yells at himself in "Soliloque," and back again at himself in the closer, until it's impossible to tell who might be winning, while "Rollin' On" is all unintelligible new wave blues, and all the better for it. It hardly feels coincidental that My Main Shitstain was released on a label called Big Dada, because that's almost exactly what it is: a statement that borders on nonsensical; cynically upbeat garage punk that's equal parts entertainment and introspection. No matter how it's described, however, it's definitely something you won't forget.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Marisa Brown