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Catherine Ringer – Ring N Roll

Catherine Ringer, Ring N Roll

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

CATHERINE Ringer’s Ring N Roll is notable for marking the first studio work from the French singer since the death of her husband life-time musical collaborator, Fred Chichin, in 2007.

As one half of seminal French duo Les Rita Mitsouko, Ringer worked with everyone from Jean-Paul Gaultier to Jean-Luc Godard, and even insulted Serge Gainsbourg on national television.

Initially devastated by her husband’s death, Catherine eventually decided in 2009 that it was time for her to see what she was capable of doing on her own in terms of composing and producing.

With Azzedine Djelil and Jean-Baptiste Brunhes at the helm, she composed and played a dazzling array of instruments, including piano, loops, keyboards, guitar and bass.

Throughout the process, Ringer always felt guided by Fred’s advice until, finally in February 2010, Catherine travelled to Los Angeles for additional production on the album with RZA.

Together they improvised, danced, laughed and honed the sound of funk guitars, soul, Hip Hop, plus a contribution by the incredible, ex-Red Hot Chili Pepper guitarist, John Frusciante.

When she was ready, Catherine quietly sorted out the final mix, at her own studio, with her trusted musician Mark Plati. The result is Ring n’ Roll, 12 tracks which celebrate the beauty of her own life and art as much as the memory of her late husband.

The result is very French and occasionally an acquired taste. But it does deliver some great moments, if not a completely satisfying whole.

The breezy acoustic rock of Z Bar, for instance, is delivered in English and is as close to pure, unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll that the album gets; Prends-Moi combines bouncy piano chords with a bluesy electric guitar riff to satisfying effect; and Got It Sweet has a classic piano vibe attached to it, as well as some ‘70s recorder touches and an angst-laden central vocal that finds Ringer pining: “I need your love!”

And then there’s the lazy, chilled out chic-pop of Si Un Jour to savour or the classical and cinematic embracing five minute epic Mahler, which more than anything seems to offer Ringer the richest opportunity to pay tribute to her late husband.

Hence, while by no means perfect and very definitely the acquired taste we mentioned earlier, there is still much here worth savouring if you’re musically adventurous.

Download picks: Z Bar, Prends-Moi, Got It Sweet, Si Un Jour, Mahler

Track listing:

  1. Vive L’Amour
  2. Punk 103
  3. Z Bar
  4. Yalala
  5. Prends-Moi
  6. Got It Sweet
  7. How Do You Know Tu
  8. Quel Est Ton Nom
  9. Pardon
  10. Si Un jour
  11. Mahler
  12. Rendez-Vous