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World Music CD Reviews Europe

L'ATTIRAIL

By Jacob Edgar
Published February 17, 2006

La Bolchevita
Naïve

L'Attirail is a French band whose music is inspired by the lost-in-time aesthetic of the former Soviet bloc countries. The artwork of their new album, as with their four previous ones, features tinted, yellowed images of worn-out buses, rusted boats, decrepit Ladas (the hunk-of-junk cars that were the only cars available for most Soviet countries), weathered babushkas shopping in open-air markets, and other photos that conjure up a world where the present has yet to catch up with the past. The music of L'Attirail is equally otherworldly. Based on the music of regions that were isolated from much of the outside world for much of the 20th century, one can hear echoes of brass bands, Gypsy violins, Middle Eastern melismas, and melancholy, almost mournful melodies. Occasionally, soft aural interludes of ambient sounds lead one track into the next, such as old car engines struggling to start, scratchy records repeating a riff over and over, or an Eastern European radio newscaster speaking over a low-quality radio. L'Attirail creates a mysterious and entrancing sound that does an amazing job of transporting the listener to another world.