the Goo Goo Cluster CD

reviewed in Ragga magazine, December 2003

2003-09_ragga.jpg (29K)

This Parisian group has crawled the bars, clubs and MJCs [Maisons de la jeunesse et de la culture: publicly financed performance spaces] for the last five years or so, pulling in a faithful following thanks to their lively shows.
The quartet of the group's début, after a few personnel changes, has been joined by a keyboardist and a horn section. Since then, their original formula (folk-rock, soul, reggae and blues) has likewise been enriched by new sounds that are evident in half of the nine songs — ska and jazz-funk are in the house and the Clusters have moved away from their early sound, which sometimes evoked Toots & the Maytals, Dylan and Southern Soul.
These styles aren't totally missing on the disk, but now their “Goozik” puts them in a league with certain American “fusion” groups in the early 90s like Boy O Boy or Bop Harvey, as well as some of the first Boston or New York ska groups.
This first studio outing is very catchy thanks to a varied approach that avoids musical categorization and thanks an acute aesthetic sense. As a whole, the CD is chock full of tasty ingredients, and it's clear we're not dealing with simple copyists. What's more, the American singer is solid, and manages to get across the French lyrics, too.
If the Goo Goo style is principally party music, some of the lyrics — like those of Vide Grenier and No Noise — have something to say. The latter is worthy of the best of Elvis Costello, Garland Jeffreys or Joe Jackson of the late 70's: a rant on the lamentable state of live music in a Paris where popular culture is dying.
To sum up; a catchy CD despite a mix that is sometimes a bit soft (notably the guitars) and that doesn't always reflect the energy and the off-the-hook quality of the group in concert.
Ever Rey D
Ragga Magazine, December 2003

original in French

also in Rock & Folk

Goo Goo Cluster