Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nessie Is a Star

I just got hold of a record I've wanted for at least four years. French pop group Evergreen has reached a legend-like status in my mind by now, since hearing about them from a euphoric Jyrki at the Emmaboda festival years ago. At that time all I could find about them was a entry. I picked up the trail again last week when I heard a track by Lollypops via a There and Back Again Lane post, loved it and soon found out that was an early incarnation of Evergreen. So I searched for their ep again and found a cheap copy via the French CD and LP service. It was a private seller so there might not be anymore copies.

Receiving the 7" in the mail today was most special and after only about 5 spins I have to say it's one of my favourite records ever, at least as good as the Rainyard 7". Great jangly pop with surprisingly good English! Each of the four songs is amazing, with the two songs on the b-side (the 'ballad' side, even though one of them does have a rhythm section) augmented by some prominent violin which makes one of the hooks in "Close-Up" sound just like "A Century of Fakers" by Belle & Sebastian. This record came out only a couple of years before Tigermilk and seems strangely isolated both in time and place (France!). The first five seconds of "House of Magic Cards" sounds exactly like another song, which I can't place now - I thought it was a Celestial track but that can't be right. Check the Lollypops version on the There and Back Again Lane blog and enlighten me!

Actually, if anyone has any more information about the band please let me know. All we can gather from the sleeve (hideous use of the Brush Script font!) are the first names of the members (female guitarist!) and the insert has some more info about the label Nessie - maybe a tribute to Scotland's pioneering efforts in pop? Their first release was a tape compilation called Superqualifragilistic after a Mary Poppins song (anyone have that?) which I found a tracklisting for here. As you can see it includes another Lollypops track - a version of "Time" - and a track from their great French contemporaries Mumbly (pre-Watoo Watoo). Otherwise I don't recognise any of the bands. They also list a Christmas 7" featuring Louis Philippe, Gregory Webster and two other bands, which I found here for 3990 yen (or 27 pounds), if anyone wants to pick it up. I can't find anything on the 'forthcoming' Tribute to él EP.

Anyway here's the first track for you to enjoy.

CLOUD 108 Evergreen - Laurie


Anonymous said...

Hi there,
There are two other songs on a French compilation CD:

(couldn't find any other info or photo, sorry)

The singer and leader formed another band called Verone:

They sing in French and their music has little to do with what Evergreen did...

Watoo Watoo said...

Hi, Michaël from Mumbly & Watoo Watoo here (thanks for your nice comment, btw!).

I agree with you - I think that Evergreen was just one the very best indiepop band ever. unfortunatly, we may be not more than 5 people to share this secret.

afair, they had to switch name from Evergreen (not related to Felt's song) to Lollypops, because there was an american rockish band called also Evergreen.
As written above, both major bandmembers (Fabien on gtr/vox & Delphine on guitars/etc) formed Verone. They were just bored with indiepop, were big fans of Slowdive & wanted to make something more low-key, more introspective, & with French lyrics.
Evergreen recorded 6 songs on this session -4 are on this comp, & 2 other on comps (I think)-.

I have a live recording of them on CD -it sounds very good, I haven't listened to it for years, though, which is a shame-.

Nessie was a small label in the southern suburbs of Paris. They released this comp that you mention, a couple of eps & then got bored, less interested in tracking small indie bands.



Watoo Watoo said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that there are some more songs that can be foud on comps, released on the label run by Guillaume from the lovely band Gyspophile "Pâte à modeler".
I have these compilation tapes, they're in my basement.