Pint-sized Gallic wonder [a]Petit Vodo[/a] is a one-man rock'n'roll circus....

Pint-sized Gallic wonder Petit Vodo is a one-man rock'n'roll circus. He plays a battered guitar, a few drums, the harmonica, fiddles with radio waves (well, he is French) and sings the blues, all at the same time. He's inspired by an authentic hillbilly called Hasil Adkins who did this sort of thing during the Depression.

Live, the raw charm of this self-sufficient blues explosion is considerable. Part circus sideshow, part rock'n'roll epiphany, it's quite a spectacle. This, however, is a record. On record, it ceases to matter if Sebastien Chevalier, the man who is Vodo, hits, honks and twangles all at the same time. We can't tell.

The sleeve denies this, but for all we know, Vodo might have rattled his drum for a bit, gone off for a coffee, come back and churned out the riff from Jon Spencer's 'Wail', called it 'Somebody's Dream', had a fag, and then started adding some stray valve-radio whines - just like ordinary people do. On record, Vodo cannot be a marvel.

For Petit Vodo to exist, we must see him flail. It's a profound existential irony that probably gives Chevalier the blues.

There are many slivers of lo-fi brilliance here, like the Beck-ish galumph of 'Kingdomgirl' or the low-rent Jon Spencer mash-up of 'Special Secator'. But 'Monom' is still an audience short of a phenomenon.
6 / 10

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