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Écrit par sur 26 novembre 2018

L’album européen de la semaine, c’est «THE LAST DETAIL» de THE LAST DETAIL (FRANCE). Gagnez cet album en écrivant à musique(at)


Interview with Mehdi Zannad from The Last Detail :


We can’t contain our excitement. That Harvey Williams (ANOTHER SUNNY DAY, BLUEBOY, THE FIELD MICE, TREMBLING BLUE STARS) wanted to contribute to the press release about THE LAST DETAIL’s debut album (the name of the band comes from the 1973 movie starring Jack Nicholson) already says a lot about how special this group and this album are:

“So how should one react when one’s two favourite contemporary singer-songwriters decide to record an album together? Mehdi Zannad has a peerless collection of long-players & one-off 45’s behind him, under both his own name and as FUGU, while Erin Moran (A GIRL CALLED EDDY) released one of this century’s great lost albums back in 2004. The stakes were high, as were my expectations. Thankfully THE LAST DETAIL doesn’t disappoint. Breezy yet reflective. Melancholic but never maudlin, and always resolutely upbeat.

While there are occasional signals indicating the artists’ individual creative pasts, the album has a personality all its own, as all great collaborations do (Nancy & LeeGainsbourg & Birkin, PET SHOP BOYS & Dusty SpringfieldSandie Shaw & THE SMITHS…). Of course, there are nods to pop’s rich tapestry echoing through the record; such references are inevitable for a duo so knowledgeable and passionate about music. But the songs are far too emotional and honest to be dismissed as mere postmodernism; they live and breathe. And while it’s difficult to pick out highlights, I have to single out “Places” as particularly tremendous; lyrically a fond remembrance of times past set to a soaring, joyous melody with umpteen hooks: you think you’re hearing the chorus, then the song moves on to the real chorus. And then it does the same trick again. Magnificent”.

So, here we are. Erin Moran (A GIRL CALLED EDDY) and Mehdi Zannad (FUGU) have made an album together, which is going to be released on Elefant Records.
The collaboration began to take shape when Zannad fell in love with Erin’s exquisite voice on her debut album “A Girl Called Eddy” – produced with Richard Hawley and critically acclaimed in the press from Uncut to Mojo to Rolling Stone and The New York Times, while Erin was a fan of FUGU from the very first album – which she bought as a ‘staff recommends’ at the old Kim’s Video on Bleecker St. in New York City.

Erin Moran was born in the same hospital as Frank Sinatra in Hoboken (New Jersey), raised on the “Jersey Shore”, but has called NYC her home for decades. When her debut album was released in 2004, it not only received critical acclaim from the press, but also acquired her some A-list fans: childhood hero’s like Burt Bacharach and Gilbert O’Sullivan, and artists as diverse as Robert Smith of THE CURE, to Tracey ThornJane Birkin, and Nina Persson. She can be heard singing on records by Ron Sexsmith, SUPER FURRY ANIMALS and many more, but interestingly (as Mehdi first heard her) she is the voice of the girl in the duet with Philippe Katerine; indie hit “Parlez-Vous Anglais Mr. Katerine?” which also just so happens to be the opening song on the Elefant compilation “Montecarlo” (released in 1997 for the inauguration of the “Colección De Las Ciudades”, and which includes the participation of among others, Harvey Williams himself). Synchronicity all around then.

Many have been wondering for years when A GIRL CALLED EDDY was going to release a second album… We finally have an answer to that question – at the beginning of 2019! (with a single before the end of this year) While waiting for that fans can calm their nerves with this very special project in collaboration with Mehdi Zannad.

Mehdi is a pop-raconteur: not only an established musician, songwriter, producer, but an architectural drawing master as well. He’s exhibited his work in gallery’s all over France and has been teaching in some of Paris’ most esteemed institutions. He’s released two marvelous albums as FUGU, singles shared with STEREOLAB and SAINT ETIENNE, co-wrote on the soundtrack for the film “La France” by Serge Bozon in 2007, arranged for Barbara Carlotti and TAHITI 80, produced APRIL MARCH, as well as releasing a delicious single on Elefant Records in 1998 (which we will be specifically re-releasing in a very special limited edition).

Erin and Mehdi met up in London, Paris and Nancy to write, and along the way held recording sessions in the band TAHITI 80’s Lab/recording studio in Rouen (where Zannad recorded his second full length, “As Found”). Erin wrote choruses that Mehdi turned into songs, and vice-versa, and both had brought some of their own already-written tunes on board when in 2014 Elefant Records showed up on the scene and offered them the possibility of making an album after hearing the first four songs from the project.
Sessions were booked, orchestra’s were contracted! and the record started to take shape with the help of various members of Mehdi’s core band of FUGU, as well as members of TAME IMPALA, SYD MATTERS and TAHITI 80.

And so finally, we have the prodigious result in our hands. On this album you can hear the work of songwriters who are tremendously in love with music. With deep respect and inspiration, care and affection. Spinning in their heads, always, the greats… Jimmy Webb, Paul McCartneyEric Carmen, Carole King and Paddy McAloon. This is a perfect, stand-out collection of songs on which both authors take turns with the vocals. The album begins with “Softly (Part 1)” as a playful, catchy opening … “Fun Fair” breathes a certain air of classic romance, with the piano progression and that final development of sabadabadas that is evocative of Françoise Hardy and Claudine Longet. Enthralling. “You’re Not Mine” has something of the soberness and strength of Laura Nyro, of the melodic elegance of Evie Sands and Linda Perhacs, of the inspiration of Joni Mitchell and the mysticism of Judee Sill. It’s in the lines of these songs, which abound with the folk-pop of the sixties and seventies, where the album tries to find its place among the classics. That BEACH BOYS touch is present in a lot of harmonies, like “Trust Your Buddy”, now with Mehdi singing, but the production work brings them closer at times to the BEE GEES at their folk-iest. Aren’t you inevitably transported just listening to that guitar solo? Because, it’s time to confess, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the feeling of listening to a classic the very first time you hear a new song. That is what happened for us with “Take My Hand”, the absolute conviction that this song, with its majestic string arrangements, turns its references into travel companions. LOVE, John Denver, BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD, THE MILLENNIUM, THE LEFT BANKE… “Fairweather Friend” brings Erin back to lead vocals for a song that once again evokes a folk vibe of the early 70’s on a song she says she wrote ‘while staring at the cover of McCartneys “Ram” for far too long’.

The energy levels are off the charts with the incredible “Lazy”. The classical piano introduction, followed by a prodigious soul push, then breathtaking wind instruments and a chorus that makes you want to sing it with your arms reaching into the air, as if you were trying to touch the sky with Erin sounding like a latter-day Jackie DeShannon… “Talk To Me” takes an important stylistic leap, with production more marked by the 80’s and neon lights and Casio’s. The melody of the verses is exquisite and the chorus is downright immortal. But the thing is, if we try to read between the lines in the lyrics, could it be that this song is talking about the musical relationship between our two composers? Pure magic. And finally, it’s a show of the love of music and the unquestionable capacity of these two songwriters to build eternal songs, without worrying about what decade to turn to.

“Die Cast” is one of those songs that is so small, on such a big album, that it winds up becoming one of your favorites. It’s delicate and fragile, somewhere between a habanera and a border sound, cinematic, powerful in its smallness. “Tears” is more rock, closer to the BEATLES at their most energetic. Solid and evocative at the same time. And once again, that guitar solo with fuzz that takes us to the times when rock moved minds. To talk about “Places” after Harvey Williams’ words seems audacious. We just want to say that we totally agree. It’s a huge song, the purity of Brian Wilson, the sweetness of AMERICAN SPRING and the grandeur of Roger Nichols. “Softly (Part 2)” falls back into the melodic line that opens the album, but it gives it a tremendously fun fifties touch, with echoes of surf and garage, and makes it instrumental. To close the album, “Photographs” gives a melancholic touch, between clavichords and acoustic guitars -like the inevitable romanticism that also opened “Fun Fair”.

This is most definitely a special album, but beyond the names that have shaped it, it is special because it holds a group of inimitable songs that sometimes feels hard to believe were written in 2018. Inspiration, sonic artistry, respect and musical elegance. As if there were a secret rule: to remember every last detail. Even down to the album presentation, with fantastic design by the esteemed Julian House (of the “Intro” collective) who’s designed covers for STEREOLAB, CAN, PRIMAL SCREAM, BROADCAST, and many others. Everything in place.

They say, “God is in the details”. May we present to you, THE LAST DETAIL.

Le fait qu’Harvey Williams (Another Sunny Day, Blueboy, The Field Mice, Trembling Blue Stars) ait voulu participer à la promotion du premier album de The Last Detail démontre bien à quel point le groupe est spécial.

« Quel est la réaction appropriée quand deux de vos chanteurs-compositeurs préférés décident d’enregistrer un album ensemble ? Mehdi Zannad a une carrière sans pareil derrière lui – sous son propre nom et en tant que FUGU – tandis qu’Erin Moran (A Girl Called Eddy) a sorti un des meilleurs albums du siècle en 2004. Les enjeux étaient importants, et j’avais de grandes attentes. Heureusement, The Last Detail ne m’a pas déçu. Aérien et songeur, mélancolique sans être larmoyant et toujours résolument optimiste. S’il y a des signes pointant vers les carrières individuelles des deux artistes, l’album a une personnalité propre – comme c’est le cas des plus grandes collaborations. Bien sûr, il y a des clins d’œil à la grande histoire de la pop tout au long de l’album : de telles références sont inévitables pour un duo aussi fin connaisseur et passionné de musique. Mais les chansons sont bien trop émotionnelles et honnêtes pour être reléguées au rang de simple post-modernisme – ces morceaux vivent et respirent. Même s’il est difficile de choisir des moments spécifiques, je trouve que « Places » est particulièrement exceptionnel – les paroles se souviennent affectueusement d’un temps révolu sur une mélodie vibrante de joie. On croit arriver au refrain, puis le vrai refrain arrive. Et puis ça recommence. Magnifique. »

Alors nous y voilà. Erin Moran (A Girl Called Eddy) et Mehdi Zannad (FUGU) ont écrit un album ensemble. L’idée d’une collaboration a vu le jour quand Zannad est tombé amoureux de la voix d’Erin sur son premier album A Girl Called Eddy, elle-même fan de FUGU depuis le début.

Le casting est cinq étoiles : Julien Barbagallo (Tame Impala), Raphael Léger (Cléa Vincent) et Jean Thévenin (François & the Atlas Mountain) à la batterie, Olivier Marguerit (O, Syd Matters, Halo Maud, Chevalrex) à la guitare, Didier Perrin (Christophe, Tanger) et Jean-Yves Lozac’h (Bertrand Belin) à la basse et les cordes de l’orchestre de Skopje. Au son Angy Laperdrix (Of Montreal), Frédéric Deces (Grand Blanc) et Julian Simmons (Guillemots).

Erin Moran est née dans le même hôpital que Frank Sinatra dans le New Jersey, mais c’est à New York City qu’elle se sent réellement chez elle. Quand son premier album est sorti en 2004, elle a reçu le soutien de la presse mais également de grands artistes comme Burt Bacharach, Robert Smith et Jane Birkin. On l’entend chanter sur Super Furry Animals de Ron Sexsmith et sur le morceau à succès « Parlez-Vous Anglais Mr. Katerine ? » en duo avec Philippe Katerine.

Nombreux sont ceux qui se demandent quand sortira le deuxième album de A Girl Called Eddy, et nous avons enfin une réponse à cette questions – en 2019 ! Pendant ce temps, les fans peuvent compter sur cette collaboration pour rendre l’attente moins interminable.

Mehdi est un raconteur pop : il est non seulement un musicien, un compositeur et un producteur, mais aussi un maître du dessin d’architecture. Il a exposé son travail dans des galeries aux quatre coins de sa France natal, et a enseigné dans les plus grandes institutions françaises. Il a sorti deux merveilleux albums sous le nom de FUGU, a partagé des singles avec STEREOLAB et Saint-Etienne, a co-écrit la bande-son du film La France de Serge Bozon, a arrangé pour Barbara Carlotti et Tahiti 80 et a produit pour April March.

Erin et Medhi se sont retrouvés à Londres, Paris et Nancy pour composer et ont enregistré dans le studio de Tahiti 80 à Rouen. Erin a écrit des refrains que Medhi a transformé en chansons, et vice-versa. Les deux musiciens avaient également amené quelques-uns de leurs propres morceaux déjà écrits. C’est en 2014 qu’ils ont été repérés par le label Elefant Records, qui leur a offert la possibilité d’enregistrer un album avec un orchestre et des membres de FUGU, Tame Impala, Syd Matters et Tahiti 80.

Et finalement, nous voilà avec ce fantastique résultat entre les mains. Sur cet album on peut entendre le travail de compositeurs profondément amoureux de la musique. Avec énormément de respect et d’inspiration, de soin et d’affection. C’est une collection de chansons parfaite dans laquelle les deux artistes chantent à tour de rôle.







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