Album Reviews

Menlo Park – Menlo Park

(Cutty Shark) UK release date: 23 October 2000

Menlo Park - Menlo Park Philadelphian Chris Taylor, for reasons we do not know, descended on London, stumbled over buskers in Tottenham Court Road station and random other London locations, and formed Menlo Park.

What he has now is a band that produces faux wild west music, All-American vocal arrangements, viola/fiddle, acoustic guitar and Hammond. From ramshackle harshness to schmoozy schmaltz, the resulting album is inventive, amusing and quite fabulous.

Opening track Cochon Cochon is sung partly in French and partly in English, as is Le Butch, by Taylor’s captivating voice which lies somewhere between Neil Young and Johnny Cash, but dripping with deviant tendencies.

Priscilla Jones, with it’s power bass, frantically fragile vocals and bizarre lyrics – “Come to daddy when you need your momma” – I can still remember from the gig, and I’d only heard it that once. Le Butch is pure western music, were it not for the lyrics being French.

Neighbourhood threatens to offer a string arrangement that sounds like Whiter Shade Of Pale but stops just in time, while the crescendo is definitely a lighter-waving effort that would give Robbie Williams‘ Angels a run for its vast reserves of marketing money.

Eating You – “I will be the spider and you will be my fly and you will be all mine and I will be eating you” – sounds, if nothing else, like it is sung by Beck. Paraplegic Dancer is a wonderful contrast of styles, while final track Double Trouble is the perfect end to a perfect recording.

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More on Menlo Park
Interview: Menlo Park
Menlo Park @ Union Chapel, London
Paul + Menlo Park @ Ocean, London
Menlo Park @ Shoreditch Town Hall, London
Menlo Park – Menlo Park