Variety Lab Team Up With Donovan and More
From the original blueprints through to the execution it's a grand slam. Collaborations with folk legend Donovan, David Bartholomé, Lisa Kekaula, Yael Naim and Lily Frost creates a broad musical spectrum while French comic artists Dupuy & Berberian bring Variety Lab's vision to life.
Variety Lab is the alias of one Thierry Bellia. His first CD – 2003's Providence – gained notoriety for its lead single "London In The Rain," which was, at the time, included in every single lounge compilation. As in the past Bellia, alone, put Team Up! together, but he did not forget to emphasize his friends' assistance in the process. Let's just name his henchmen from the French band Orwell (Jérôme Didelot and Alexandre Longo, aka Cascadeur and winner of the 2008 Inrockuptibles CQFD prize). Making use of his friends, instruments, machines and other weird objects (for instance the Optigan, a toy devised back in the 70's), Thierry has worked non-stop on this project.
As for the biggest collaboration, after months of swapping tapes across the channel with Bellia, folk legend Donovan himself flew across to Paris to offer his voice and his experience to the spacious and bouncy opening track, "Is This The Last Time." "I was delighted to be asked to join Variety Lab on their project. I flew into Paris to record. I helped to re-work the song and had great fun with the band. It's a cool track and I am pleased to present this first single with Variety Lab. It's a funny lyric and I brought out the humor with one of my quirky accents that I use when I take on the character in a song. It's a perfect new pop record to dance and meet a new friend or lover," Donovan says.
On three other tracks, "We Should Be Dancing" (the video has now been viewed over 125,000 time on YouTube), "Mireia" and the very rocky "Not Enough," it is David Bartholomé, the lead-singer with the excellent Belgian band Sharko, who grabs the mike. And then the fantastic and frantic Bellrays' vocalist, Lisa Kekaula, with her husky and roaring voice who sings on "Let's Boogie," a groovy and vocodered track that oozes sheer rock and soul energy from Detroit. The youngster Vincent Mougel from Kidsaredead comes in next to blow some sugary foam on the sweet candy that is "Soda Pop Confusion," while Thierry's fellow Nancy-born Mona Soyoc naturally joins the project as a next-door neighbor, and adds some sensuality to the very eighties "Money," a cover version of the track by late 70s-early 80s English band The Flying Lizards, who had themselves borrowed it from the soul crooner Barrett Strong. Next, Canadian songstress Lily Frost croons over the lush, crackly ballad "This Parade" before 2008 pop sensation Yael Naim closes the album with her version of "Love Is A Bird;" originally a Variety Lab demo that has gradually evolved, first in the expert hands of Cascadeur, then by David Bartholomé on a Sharko album. "Love Is A Bird", a simple, and beautiful idea, that leads us strolling from one end of Team up! to the other, filled with a feeling that can be summed up as the more, the stronger, the prettier and the merrier.
Team up! is more than a mere album - Much more. It is like awaking from a soft dream.
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