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Friday, 8 February 2013

Friday's French music break Lillywood and the prick, "Middle of the night"

Friday's French music break this week comes from a group with the (um) glorious name of Lilly Wood and the Prick.

Great name for a band don't you think?

Er. Pass.

Lilly Wood and the Prick: screenshot from  "Where I Want To Be (California)" official video
"Middle of the night" is the first single to have been released from their latest album "The fight", a fine follow-up to their debut "Invincible friends"

Online information about Lilly Wood and the Prick is a bit thin on the ground.

That fount of all knowledge, both correct and incorrect, otherwise known as Wikipedia, doesn't have a great deal on them. In fact their English entry is - well sparse to say the very least - which means you have to go a-huntin elsewhere.

Their website is a little disappointing although is has links to their Myspace account and the inevitable Facebook page complete with upcoming dates.

So who are they?

Well, they're a duo: singer Nili Hadida and guitarist Benjamin Cotto.

The pair write all their own material.

Their sound is distinctive and categorised  - always a bit of a danger when trying to pigeon hole artists whose music defies labels - as folk Electronic / Folk / Pop.

One thing's for sure - they cannot be mistaken for any other French act - in fact you would have a hard time knowing they were French - more on that in a moment.

Hadida and Cotto were apparently introduced to each other back in 2006 by friends in a bar in Paris and began working together within 48 hours.

"We barely each other at the beginning," Hadida told Nagui, the presenter of France 2's music show Taratata.

"But through music we've had a chance to get closer and really understand how the other person ticks."

Hmmm.  Great story isn't it? And the two seem pretty sincere. There again, who cares whether it's entirely true as their music ain't half bad.

Their big break - in terms of wider recognition came at the 2011 Victoires de la Musique awards (the French equivalent of the Grammys) when the pair walked away with the prize of Best Newcomer (le groupe ou l'artiste révélation du public) ahead of  Ben l'Oncle Soul, Camélia Jordana and Zaz.

Now don't worry if your French isn't very good. The group sings exclusively in English - probably down to Hadida's international upbringing and influences (she was born in Israel, raised in Paris and has lived in London and California).

There's definitely a commercial appeal to their music and unlike some other "foreign groups" writing and singing in English, their lyrics actually make sense.

Hadida's voice is distinctive, and what's more the pair can perform live.

There's no playback or flashy gimmicks necessary as witnessed by this appearance on Le Figaro's music show "Le Live".

Their music is simple without any pretensions although Hadida admits that some of the songs, much like the group's name, are meant to provoke.

Ah yes.

About that name...

"Nili isn't necessarily Lilly and nor am I the Prick. In fact it could be the opposite," Cotto said with a degree of humour in an interview with By the Way blog.

"Seriously though the name is more about a group of words which (to us) sound good together and it's in keeping with how we want to progress: the magical aspect reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland mixed with something a little more down to earth."

Yes. Well.

Maybe they'll think about changing their name should they ever become successful outside of France.

One thing's for sure, whatever they're called, the pair produce some excellent music.

Here's the official clip of "Middle of the night".


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