Melancholia and the absurd are the two 'colours' this artist says he wanted to express through this project. A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow , a swing tune featuring the bodhran and tin whistle, falls squarely into the latter category.
Pol Huellou divides his time between his birthplace in Brittany and Ireland and this album reflects both cultures with very mixed and often unwittingly comic results.
Huellou's discography numbers "about 30 albums" and he's collaborated with poets, dancers and singers from around the world including Vietnam, Poland and Scotland. His 'friends' under his artistic direction on his latest work number fourteen.
When singing in English, his heavily accented voice is like a parody of a Frenchman desperately trying to embody the spirits of Tom Waits and Shane MacGowan.
On The Town I Loved So Well, a schmaltzy Irish ballad written by Phil Coulter, the restrained lyricism of the original is replaced by an overly theatrical pathos with lines like "I learned about life and I found a wife" rendered in a pompous manner. Just Eur Gigolo, in much the same vein, is equally ponderous.
Besides this, there are run of the mill versions of traditional Irish folk ballads and French chansons with four of eleven tracks being instrumentals.
The melodrama of Huellou's delivery sounds better when he's singing in French, for example on Les Goémons a cover of a Serge Gainsbourg song.
The voice of Michèle Kerhoas features on three tracks, notably on the poetic torch song Moi J'm'ennuie in which she takes centre stage. This change of mood stands out as one of the album's highlights along with the exotic closing tune Let's Blues It, a hypnotically trance-like piece built around an Armenian theme.
These two tracks redeem an otherwise messy and, frankly, cheesy collection.