Michel Polnareff

Polnareff's

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Michel Polnareff's self-titled psychedelic pop masterpiece from 1971 is composed and recorded as all of a piece. The lushly layered textures bring in everyone from Serge Gainsbourg and Burt Bacharach, to funky discotheque, along with intimations of the pop of Sandie Shaw and Françoise Hardy, The Turtles, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and, of course, Scott Walker. Tracks such as "Petite, Petite," "Nos Mots D'Amour," and "Monsieur L'Abbe" reveal that Polnareff would err on packing his tracks with everything he could fit into his grandly baroque, kitschy schema, rather than have left anything to chance. It's overblown and excessive to be sure -- in a manner, it's like an early model for the excesses of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk -- but it is also so bloody well-executed and produced, it cannot be anything but brilliant. This is pretentious French psychedelic soul at its most garish and essential.

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