Lapassenkoff – Congo / Masaï
From Lapassenkoff – Shing A Ling!
Released on Mosquito, 1988, France

One of the things we’ve learn from rummaging through record bins is that you kind of need to judge a record by its cover in order to make some selecting amongst unknown records. And most of the time, a gorgeous artwork (that’s up to everyone appreciation one may say, but still…) hides decent music, if not good music. However, Lapassenkoff‘s Shing A Ling! doesn’t corroborate this rule, at all.

At first sight, There are several things wrong about this record. The most striking one is the absolutely hideous artwork:  lame sfumato effect on a grey and pastel picture of some rockabilly-looking singer (Robert Lapassade) which somehow foretells the success of Do-It-Yourself mock Andy Warhol profile pictures on Facebook… The second thing that is really wrong is the name of the band : Lapassenkoff, which looks and sounds super bad, even if you’re a French-speaker. In fact, the name come from a very unfortunate mix between the name of the band’s singer, Robert Lapassade and Jacky Yantchenkoff, the man who takes care of the machines and the synths… Lapassenkoff…

The carrer of Robert Lapassade, before Lapassenkoff, is not a good indicator neither : Killdozer, Lapassade‘s first band, was a try at being the French JB‘s, with Lapassade impersonating James Brown, while we’ll just let you make your own opinion about his next band, Snappin’ Boys by watching some very « rock’n’roll footage of the band performing their « hit, « Latin Hustlin » here (it does look like a parody by Les Inconnus… French people will know) .

HOWEVER, Lapassade‘s third try was a very good one ! Indeed, musically speaking Shing A Ling! is a successful album and the band even had the minor hit in Belgium dance scene they deserved with the Alan Vega-sounding M. Le Maudit, as it was featured in the selection of the mythical radio show Liaisons Dangereuses ! But M. Le Maudit is not the only good song on the album, as Lapassade‘s obsession with funk met the creative mind of Jacky Yantchenkoff who gave it a very satisfying twist, by crafting nice minimal electro instrumentals, like on Congo / Masaï.

We have to admit that there was a hint on the album sleeve that it could be featuring some nice post-punk jams : it was released on Mosquito, a small label on which were also released a few records by Ramuntcho Matta…

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