Caesar Spencer is an Englishman born in Peru, who also happens to be Swedish, but now finds himself in living in Paris, France. He releases his debut album `Get Out Of Yourself` this month which is his love letter to France. It is sprinkled with vintage-pop and baroque inspired arrangements and tackles an array of topics including the search for identity, childhood nostalgia, celebrations of French culture, as well as paying tribute to figures including Samuel Beckett, Jimi Hendrix, and Serge Gainsbourg.
The album opens with `Hail Caesar` which features old school French rock n roll / punk icon Gilles Tandy (Les Olivensteins) along with Mustang’s celebrated Jean Felzine. It`s an instrumental song with a delightful surf rock vibe. We have in `Get Out Into the Pigs` a track that reflects adolescent trauma and the inherent yearnings for escape that come hand-in-hand with coming of age. There`s a strummed guitar with a deeply resonating vocal shared atop which gives it both a dreamy and cinematic quality with its orchestrated strings.
The wonderfully titled ` Isn’t That What Jimi Said` begins with the sound of sea lapping a beach and seagulls squawking on this amiable reflective pop musing that has a hint of Stephen Patrick about it. It`s interspersed with aural soundbites and laughter and features both Jean Felzine again and Jo Wedin a Swedish soul /r&b / pop singer-songwriter, who has been almost adopted in France.
Singer and actress Mareva Galanter (who has several albums under her own belt, one of which was recorded with half of Primal Scream) trades vocals with Spencer and is the perfect foil on `When I Whisper In Your Ear` as opera soprano Aurélie Ligerot`s vocal floats in and out occasionally. Along with a rolling drumbeat we have a string arrangement courtesy of Macedonia’s FAME Symphony orchestra. The number I read is a homage to Serge Gainsbourg
Gilles Tandy and Jo Wedin appear once again on `Jane Loves The Highway` it may be a road song of sorts but is a robust pop song with a wah-wah guitar riff running throughout. An act or token of remembrance is the definition of the word `Requiem` which is also the title of this introspective recollection which may allude to the singer`s life.
`Cult Of Personality` floats along with piano keys and has a fairly trip hop texture underlying the deep vocal reflection on a lost love that has grown a cult of personality around their memory in the narrator`s mind. We delight in a composition named `Broken By The Song` that is initially stripped back with just piano and crooning vocals before backing harmonies flesh it out as it evolves. A fairly tender and heart-breaking number where you almost feel as if you are intruding by listening in.
There`s an intro in French from, I presume Jacqueline Taïeb, the legendary yé-yé chanteuse (a style of sixties pop music) to `Waiting For Sorrow` which is a stunning larger than life pop outing with shimmering guitar and a vocal delivery that exudes the real passion of the lyrics shared. A kind of resonating guitar accompanies the singer on title track `Get Out Into Yourself` which at times is a dreamy submission that leads us along a journey that to me, became an almost out of body experience before ending up as a musical jam with glistening guitar riffs and splayed organ keys.
The concluding number `Knew That One Day` again features Jean Felzine and Jo Wedin and seems to be a celebration of a new romantic relationship. The song has a sense of euphoria in this renewed passion and desire. A delightfully uplifting number to end on.
I read that `Get Out Of Yourself` was a concept-album-of-sorts but didn`t really strike me a such so maybe it was subtle in its execution.
Along with the variety of star guests on this release the talented pair of Fred Lafage on guitars, bass, keyboards and Frantxoa Erreçarret on drums really brought the singer`s vision to life.
I really loved `Get Out Of Yourself` and i`m sure it`ll be an album that I will return to many, many times. It has also pointed me towards some French artists that I had never heard of and will now explore in depth.
Caesar Spencer`s love letter to France may will inspire one from me now, allow him the opportunity to inspire yours.