As sixties singer-poet Pete Brown maintained ‘Things may come and things may go but the art-school dance goes on forever’. Well Genevan trio Alice would definitely go down well at that kind of hop. Formed in 2018 to perform at the Swiss city’s Deviant Art Festival by mother and daughter Yvonne and Lisa Harder plus graphic novelist Sarah André this self-styled mini-choir, just the three voices and a second hand synth, make lo-fi music with wit, charm and a sneaky pinch of subversion.
Alice take a folky starting point from French and Occitan tradition and deliver songs in simple home-spun harmonies, sometimes naïve, often nuanced, sometimes sparky but distinctly special. Telling stories from the bits and pieces of their everyday, the weather, posing car drivers and dull parties, there’s plenty of art-punk spirit scratching below this surface.
Their first release in 2018, the self-assembled cassette, Alice Partout, was fabulously DIY and intriguing, so good that they’ve now been picked up by the ever ‘on-it’ Bongo Joe Records who release the second Alice album, L’Oiseau Magnifique on March 3rd. From the previews there have been so far, it doesn’t sound like this ‘step up’ has in anyway diluted Alice’s spontaneity or smoothed their edges. La fête nulle (previewed here as an eerie live take) sweeps from nodding weariness to bursting frustration as the trio’s voices bind together while the quirky rhymes of Du fil à recoudre roll out optimistically on a jokey bouncing swing.
There’s an affinity to great outsider music woven into Alice’s sound (think maybe Ivor Cutler, The Raincoats, even Robert Wyatt). It’s unique, unfathomably addictive and, most importantly, completely genuine.
Pre-order your copy of L’Oiseau Magnifique by Alice from your local record store or direct from: https://aaallliiiccceee.bandcamp.com/album/loiseau-magnifique