Pleasure Principle - Buvez le poison LP
Two social media posts out of three are about losing his phone, the last one is about him swearing he saw a dog making himself a sandwich. Paul Ramon (Bryan's Magic Tears, la Secte du Futur) has managed to finish his second solo album, "Drink the Poison."
Preceded by a reputation for being Defcon 1 - level unmanageable on tour, while obviously being able to hold his own, it's no surprise to find the paradox in his music. Body search the record and you'll find chemical faves of the last forty years. Paul Ramon is doing 20 on the highway ("Hacienda", downhill dub with over-the-top bass), and 60 in the city ("Les victimes du roi", arpeggiated medieval-fantasy trip). Pleasure Principle obviously decided that traffic regulations just didn't apply to his vehicle. Sung in french (neither bellowed nor whispered, thanks), highlife guitars travelling light via the Carribeans, 90's synths stabs, calculated MTV moments : traces of everything, traces everywhere.
A singer by obligation, by his own admission, he performs with a cheeky Madchester University alumni attitude. Happy to be there, but wishes nobody knew. Paul Ramon stuck his tongue out to write : he deals generously in one-liners, as sharp as disposable razors. Can't wait to see him pull those out of his pockets, struggling to bleed everyone. Marc Portheau saves the day in his mix : "Heliopolis", psych-pop jam lost in heavy delay, could have gone astray but suddenly gets all sophisticated with winds and chorus - as much appreciated as they never RSVP'd (Olivier Demeaux, Romain Vasset).
This is a bear trap of an album. "La punition commence" (the punishment begins) and we expect a synth-wave dungeon moist with whispered confessions, when in fact it's more about wiggling arms in the air, and trampling the corpse of dance-pop to the sound of brain-dead synth, circa 1995. "Frappe le cuir" pays homage to the Happy Mondays, which you'd expect given the drummer's pedigree. "Buvez le poison" and "La sieste", a barely legal promotional campaign for narcotics, contain more than you asked for, if you can only listen. And "Rêves", chord-driven summer track gets turned over by the effects-laden guitar solo. Traps, again.