The enigma of why France,a reasonably sized nation that has given the world such provocative art and culture over the last 500 or so years,has failed to contribute much of anything(at least anything more substantive than Jordy"s "Dur Dur d'etre bebe") to today's popular music is an ongoing puzzle.
But luckily,a copy of Slanted and Enchanted seems to have found it's way across the Atlantic,and motivated a handful of French youngsters to adress this imbalance of trade and start rocking out.The herky-jerky rhythms,Rude Goldberg riffs,and lyrical obliqueness of pavement are the dominant flavour on Surfing on a T-Bone(especially obvious on songs like "Age Class and Race");however,the slide and scratch guitars on propulsive tracks like "Do you know what?" indicate that Jon Spencer is perhaps one of Welcome To Julian's lesser deities.In brandishing their fuzzy guitars and off-kilter sensibilities,the band's member wear their American indie-rocker influences on their sleeves fairly prominently,to the extent that there really isn't anything inherently Gallic about their tunes(eleven of the twelve songs are in English). The lyrics are a jumble of malaproprisms and gibberish,delivered in a nasal mumble...but then,that describes most every band on this side of the sink as well.Here's hoping Surfing on a T-Bone can serve to stir up some scum-rocking waves over in la belle France.
- ---David Jarman--CMJ new Music Monthly-OCT 1995