Lizzy Mercier Descloux made a significant splash in New York's underground music community with her first solo album for the ZE label, home to equally bent acts like Was (Not Was), Cristina, the Contortions, and Kid Creole & the Coconuts. The French transplant had already established herself as one half of Rosa Yemen, a short-lived no wave combo that released a hastily recorded six-song EP for the same label a year earlier. Along with Rosa Yemen partner DJ Barnes and Garçons' Eric Elliason, she recorded Press Color -- eight tense, terse tunes owing more to disco, funk, and film scores than punk rock -- within the span of two weeks. The lead single, a cover of Arthur Brown's "Fire," couldn't have ripped out Descloux's no wave roots any more violently, all the while changing the original's fire-and-brimstone theatrics into a zippy roller-rink wink. Covers of two Lalo Schifrin compositions -- "Mission: Impossible" and "Jim on the Move" -- are relatively faithful, though Descloux adds something of her own to the latter by repeatedly intoning the title ("Jim...Jim! Jim, Jim, Jim -- on...the move"). The original arrangement of the standard "Fever" is also kept intact, but Descloux replaces every instance of "fever" with "tumor" ("you give me tumor," "tumor when you hold me tight," etc.). The other half of the album is made up of originals, including "Wawa," a bobbing, disco-inspired instrumental full of the spindly guitars that would populate much of her brilliant follow-up, Mambo Nassau. Spirited, fun, and full of luscious basslines, the only thing that prevents Press Color from being as venerated as ESG's early releases is that no rap producer has been keen enough to sample from it.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman