Beats: Dead Belgian – Love & Death: The Songs of Jacques Brel

 "Beautiful & an idiot at the same time" - Sums me up!

Dead Belgian are a Liverpool-based band playing the music of Jacques Brel.  They began life in 2007, inspired to share Brel’s music with all who would listen.  Each member brought their own influences to the band, from European folk to progressive rock, stripping the songs to their bare bones and fattening them up again using a ramshackle drum kit, ukulele, guitar, accordion, saxophone, mandolin, clarinet and flute.

The album opens up with a wonderfully cheerful rendition of Madeleine. It really is wonderful… you find yourself immediately jigging along to the sound of the accordion and the saxophone. The vocalist is very talented and makes even the French language sound beautiful… the one language and accent I usually can’t stand.

The second song is in English, it’s probably my favourite on the album; It’s called Au Suivant and it’s sombre as fuck which is hardly surprising considering that the song seems to be about child prostitution. It really is quite powerful.

The last song I want to talk about is Le Moribond. It’s quite depressing in some parts but also upbeat and catchy. Musically, there’s not as much going on as most other songs but it really does the trick.

All in all, this is a wonderful album. Sometimes it’s very cheery and upbeat, other times it’s quite sombre and depressing. There’s a good mix.

These guys (and girl) are all incredibly talented and they’ve really done well in bringing the music of Jacques Brel back to life.

I’ve not seen them live yet but I hope to in the near future although, I do wonder how they will do it as each person plays multiple instruments. I hope they draft in session musicians instead of using a backing track. 

Dead BelgianLove & Death: The Songs of Jacques Brel is out on Monday 2nd July through any decent online retailer at the very least.

Go buy it if you like French sounding folk music that will make you smile yet cry. There’s something for everyone here.



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