Now Marianne Dissard’s album, “The Cat, Not Me”, was hard work. Not because it was obscure in motivation or difficult to understand but because there just so much going on. That very complexity, however, turned out to be the album’s greatest strength.
Marianne Dissard, to these ears, is a chanteuse of the old school proper in her presentation of passion who can easily portray fragility with a frankness verging on the elemental with hypnotic recitation seemingly as important as her actual singing. That darkness of the soul, here sketched with the assistance of the inestimable Sergio Mendoza and as so often exorcised by the ghosts of chanson like Juliette Greco and Serge Gainsbourg, is much to the fore in the songs that form this album which many, those possessed of the open mind at least, will consider poetic to the point of pleasure.
Listen to the structured elegance of “Pomme” for the proof that Ms Dissard is cut from a different cloth. Her poise, near cabaret phrasing and playful approach to the art of arrangement mark the song out as one driven to impress not just once but always. Edging then towards the laconic, she then invokes an unmistakeable Gallic ennui to take “Oiseau” into low orbit around the moon before returning triumphant with the upbeat yet metaphorically isolationist “Election”. Any home is better than no home as a philosopher might say.
From a sonic point of view, the use of sounds isolated from the song pervade this album to such an extent that you are driven to reflect whether these anomalies are there simply as placeholders for the flat equivalences of life much as if, perhaps, the purpose of a watch was simply to question the nature of time.
Complexity and, indeed, the courage to be different have always been the defining characteristic of Marianne Dissard’s music and “The Cat, Not Me” is the evidence of her maturity and, whilst by no means hard to like, she nonetheless demands so much more attention than many will be capable of giving.
The vinyl cut was by Loud Mastering in Bristol, judging by both sleeve credit and run out groove, and they have done their job well with the black spinning disc being dramatically detailed and enveloping in a way that no mere mp3 can ever match. One final thought - listen alone for, in these songs, you will something that one may not wish to share.
The album is available from Bandcamp and the usual download sites.