Release Date: 6th April 2009 Label: Nova Express Records Website: www.myspace.com/alexandtheskeletonband So, here I am holding a copy of Preacher Blues staring intriguingly at the album’s artwork. From the encased confines of the front cover peers an abandoned house through sepia tones and a slightly ominous aura. I wonder if the melody that hides within is a rightful personification of such an introduction. I then glance at the back, a little girl in a red dress with the head of an antelope?… hm… ‘eeek’ Vous Ne M’aurez Pas Cru (Part. 1). Drum roll, check, random blues pentatonic fiddling, check. Cue captivating French vocals and distinctively old skool and simplistic guitar building into a crescendo of eclecticism the likes of which my ears are unfamiliar with, check… Undertones of chocolate Jesus anyone? The almost cliché use of Tom Waits to describe Le Skeleton Band is becoming formulaic in its expression, but what Le Skeleton Band have managed to do, is entwine Tom Waits into their own interpretive, surreal and abstract personification of the blues one would believe only could be found in the deepest recesses of a Parisian alleyway, a dark smoke filled bar full of beret donned hipsters nodding appreciatively towards the music makers dans le théâtre. Preacher Blues begins in an inspiring fashion. The music speaks of belief, or a lack of, in an unwaveringly powerful and disdainful way via Vous Ne M’aurez Pas Cru (Part. 1). Continuing on with L'Automne, another insightful episode using their native tongue to spit out more of that mysteriously sinister yet beautiful blues. Their use of melodica, glockenspiel, banjo and spatula become more prevalent within their music as the album cuts through time, infusing the already thick atmosphere with added suspense and depth, Hard Pavement is testament to this, yet, with this increase of musical intensity comes the downfall of the vocal capacity to keep one enthralled. From mother tongue to English, for me they lose their way. Still spoken with French accentuations, as one would expect, I feel adds to a more comedic-anti-comedy ambience that I struggle to ascend from. This does change with the last two tracks Fils, Mon Cher Fils and Vous Ne M’aurez Pas Cru (Part. 2) but by then the damage had been done. However, I did really enjoy this album. The obscurity it absconded won me over and the vocals I am sure will be something I can get over with time. Le Skeleton Band I feel would be one of those bands to appreciate live, one of those atmospheres to feel and experience the moment with. Rating: 7/10