The appeal of Le Chat Lunatique’s live performances owes as much to its bandmates patter and seriocomic stage presence as it does to their music—and the music is damn good. They’ve managed to translate that appeal to their new studio CD, Demonic Lovely, without visual or verbal aids. The music and the commitment with which it is played, it turns out, are really what it’s all about, whether you’re on the dance floor or sinking into a sofa.
It’s a lot of music—from corybantic ecstasies to deep-souled lamentations—with few weak spots and a lot of surprises from four accomplished players: Sandlin, Muni Kulasinghe (violin), Jared Putnam (bass) and Fernando Garavito (drums), with help from accordionist Debo Orlofsky on one track. Seamless segues, smart track sequencing and judicious use of studio techniques add to the listenability.
When there are lyrics, as surprising as some of the musical twists, they add a devilishly clever and literate dimension.
Most of the tunes—five each from Kulasinghe and Sandlin, six from Putnam—are well-constructed little gems that propagate earworms for ongoing pleasure. When there are lyrics, as surprising as some of the musical twists, they add a devilishly clever and literate dimension. Much of their material can hold its own against the standards the band plays live.
High points include “Devil’s Lucre” (JS), sort of a “Three Blind Mice” on absinthe; “miss lady” (MK), an arch delectation of helpless heartbreak; and the noir humor of “Millionairess” (JP).
The boys took a lot of care with this recording. The trick of it is, they make it all seem effortlessly fun—and it is, for listener and dancer alike.