The French Music Review Fantazio / The Sweet Little Mother Fuckin’ Show "Beats made by beasts"

The French Music Review
Fantazio / The Sweet Little Mother Fuckin’ Show
"Beats made by beasts"

The Sweet Little Mother Fucking Show is a hard album to review. There’s no use saying it reminds you
of so and so as the usual genres and reference points go out the window for this one. The album feels a
little bit like a travelling circus or a travelling experiment where anything goes. If the album where a
film it might look something like ‘time of the gypsies’. It’s more of an experience and by the end of it
you feel like you’ve been invited into another realm of possibilities. Central to the sound of the record
is of course the double bass of Fantazio himself. Guitar, drums, saxophone, percussion and samples are
some of the instruments and sounds which then flesh out the score of this gypsy-like extravaganza.
The SLMFS sets out to travel the globe. The voyage begins with opener 'Seven Days' where the singer
wakes up in Rome and further travels then include Thailand, Japan and London. But the record doesn’t
just travel lyrically it also travels musically. In fact some parts of the record sound like an ongoing
improvisation. As though the travelling or improvisations are happening as we listen to them. Perhaps
this is what Fantazio is alluding to when he sings on ‘Learn’, “help me to learn day by day how to catch
the wind and let it fly away”. This voyage, perhaps like the improvisation, should have no end. It is the
voyage itself and not the destination that is important. When you reach the destination you should let it
fly away or you’ll never move forward again. This idea gets re-emphasized on track ‘Debarasse Toi’
where Fantazio puts the point across more crudely, “Debarrasse toi de tout ces idols et en invente des
moins connes et têtue. Debarrasse toi des contractions bien figées et débrouilles toi de continuer un
chantier”.There are some great lighter pop moments on this record. ‘Adrile Dreams’ grooves along in a
dub reggae kind of way with a twinkle of piano stuck in here and there. ‘El Docteur’ jumps and swings
away nicely. It’s the kind of song that could even get mainstream radio play if it weren’t for the fact that
the junkie in the song keeps wanting to “fuck his doctor”. It seems that popularity isn’t something that
Fantazio is going to give into easily. On ‘La Musique Populaire’ he tells detractors advising him on how
to attract more people to his concerts that their “pop and rock festivals” can basically go and fuck off.
There is a real punk sensibility to Fantazio. You feel that he’s created his world on his own terms.
Which may be why, on track 15, ‘Punks of London’ he sounds pretty disillusioned with the “official”
punk philosophy which has evolved so little since the late 70’s. “Punks of London, they don’t know my
name” he seems to shout reproachfully. ‘Sad times’ is a beautiful song which fittingly brings the album
towards its end. I could imagine Lotte Lenya singing this. The SLMFS has taken us through the joys
and tribulations of life and now this song touchingly brings the voyage to a close and celebrates death
as a renewal rather than an end, “when these sweet lips are getting sad and over, another wind is
coming right behind”. Fantazio assures us there’s nothing to be worried about since “les anges qui
connaissent bien leur métier” will take care of us. The theme is repeated on the final, hidden track. It’s
a jaunty and more upbeat song that comes over almost like a Hare Krishna chant. Fantazio sings
cheerfully and repeatedly and rhetorically, “are you going to be living or dying” in this world? SLMFS is
a debut album but this sounds like it could just as well have been their fifth. This is a band with a cult
live following and the danger was always that SLMFS would disappoint and sound tame. Nothing could
be further form the truth. Fantazio and his gang sound like they’ve taken ten years of blood, sweat and
tears and condensed it into a great 60 minute mother fucking show.

Carl Siewertz February 27, 2006
 