Olivier Libaux – Uncovered Queens Of The Stone Age (Cartell/Border) CD REVIEW

emiliana-torrini-2013-06-10-uncovered-queens-of-the-stone-age-album-0FEW WOULD DENY that Josh Homme is a capable songwriter, but it’s unclear what Nouvelle Vague’s Olivier Libaux is trying to uncover on this predictably pleasant stroll through 13 Queens Of The Stone Age songs.
Twelve different female singers (Inara George gets two goes) do their sultry thing over Libaux’s airy arrangements of songs that mostly originally sounded hard and heavy and clanged with guitars.
He works in South American rhythms and layers the sounds of harmonious nylon guitar strings and rather fake-sounding string sections, a formula that made me as happy as a marsupial in a box of chocolates, but also put me to sleep.

All the singers somehow manage to extract the best out of Homme’s songs, despite having in most cases having emailed their performances to Libaux to be matched with his musical backing. Inara George proved her easy virtuosity with The Bird And The Bee, and she’s the best thing about Uncovered, especially her lo-fi one-take demo version of ‘No One Knows’, which Libaux decided to use because it was just so good. (I just wish he’d mixed down the volume of her breathing, which is practically sibilant). Olivier-Libaux-Uncovered-Queens-of-the-Stone-AgeThe golden-voiced Emiliana Torrini follows up the rare on ‘Go With The Flow’, although there really are no duff moments here on an album that will go down well in cafes and bars that require a sophisticated cod-Gallic ambience.
It doesn’t really uncover much in Homme’s writing, except to prove that it’s possible to give anything a hint of café latte and buttery croissant. GARY STEEL

Music = 3/5
Sound = 3.5/5

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