After working as an animator for Pee Wee’s Playhouse , animating and writing for Ren and Stimpy , and singing for the Pussywillows, you would expect something a little odd and wonderful from Elinor Blake, A.K.A. April March. Singing in French and English, she recaptures sixties Europop, without venturing into parody. This is one of those records where you have to put the analytical part of your brain on hold and just let the songs take over. If you can allow its innocence to touch you, you’ll see that it’s also a masterful album with wonderfully layered tracks and beautiful, sweet vocals. Her arrangements mix piano, banjo, samples, harmonica, and gentle guitars. I found her best songs were in French. Perhaps it’s just that it seems to fit the music better, but “Garden of April,” with it’s “ye-ye” vocals, and the march “Mon Petit Ami” are the real standouts. The Janis Ian-ish “Kneesocks” was a terrific English language track. Often, in reviewing records, “cute” is a criticism, but in the case of April March, it’s a grand compliment. She has produced an unlikely candidate for one of my favorite records of the year.
Ideal Records, 2410 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027