Thomas Fersen

October 4, 2005By Heidi EllisonWhat's New Art & Culture

Madmen and Pets

Thomas Fersen as seen by Jean Baptiste Mondino.

Thomas Fersen, considered a representative of the “nouvelle chanson française” along with Vincent Delerm, Bénabar and Cali, falls into the large category of French singer/songwriters who are more interesting for their poetic lyrics than for their music. The writing of this fan of Jean Genet has even invited comparisons to Jacques Prévert.

On the just-released Le Pavillon des Fous (The House of Madmen) on the Tôt ou Tard label, the 42-year-old Fersen’s simple, driving rhythms and acoustic music back up songs with the usual quirky subject matter. Animals of all sorts populates his five previous albums, and pets figure large on this one. In “Zaza,” he professes his love for his “sexy” one-eyed dog. even though she stinks, and sings to his “viscous” iguana in “Mon Iguanodon.”

In “Mon Macabre.” he turns to his own body for subject matter and addresses his skeleton, surprised in an armchair “smoking coffin nails,” in a scene lit by that “obscene star,” the moon. The dark side enters into a number of these songs, including “Maudie,” about a madwoman who thinks she’s the queen of England, and “Pégase,” in which the singer remembers his mother’s warnings about the dangers of seeking the light, comparing him to the ”insomniac moths that find an aphrodisiac” in light bulbs at night.

Fersen’s pleasant music doesn’t hurt the ears, but a close reading of his lyrics is essential to really appreciating this album.

He will be in concert at the Bataclan from November 29 to December 3 and at the Olympia from February 21 to 25.

Bataclan: 56 bd Voltaire, 75011 Paris. Tel.: 01 43 14 00 30.

Olympia: 28, boulevard des Capucines, 75009 Paris. Tel.: 08.92.68.33.68.

www.olympiahall.com

Heidi Ellison

© 2005 Paris Update

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