Regular guestposter David B. bumped into a hidden Quebecois treasure…
Wandering off the usual beat, a couple of years ago I came across ?Alice! and sought out their two released CD’s, “Divagation Douce” and “Baisers Allumette”. There’s a third, “Ce soir on mange les restes”, not released, that was at one time offered for free on their website. I can’t find it now. Or anything at all online, for that matter.
?Alice! made something of a splash on the Quebecois music circuit in 2001, with a garage band sound and Esther Teman’s filles fragile voice, sort of Ramones, Pixies and perhaps a hint of Gainsbourg. Well, considering one of the tracks is a cover of “Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son” (slow and melancholy, starting with the sound of falling rain – I was prepared to not like it, but it seems to work somehow, and has grown on me over time), more than a hint of Gainsbourg I guess. The songwriting was mostly Vladimir Garand, and the first CD features some of his vocals (not recommended, but “Caracoule” is okay), but ?Alice! featured Esther much more heavily on the second CD.
There’s not much information ready to hand on ?Alice!, but here’s a nice article on them from their first year.
On “Divagation Douce”, a hard CD to find and roughly half of the songs are a hard go, “Polyester” and “Muse and Musette” are favorites. I much prefer their second CD (used copies are more readily found). On “Baisers Allumette”, “Tigresse” and “Le son etrange” I like best.