The Lagniappe Sessions :: En Attendant Ana

Lagniappe (la ·gniappe) noun ‘lan-ˌyap,’ — 1. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. 2. Something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus.

Principia, the third album from Parisian quintet En Attendant Ana, was one of 2023’s most enduring pleasures. Throughout its 10 extremely catchy / sneakily sophisticated tunes, the LP contained elements of vintage 1990s indie, dashes of Stereolab-esque motorik pop and a hint of the classic French yé-yé style, all centered on the winning vocals of Margaux Bouchaudon. Those ingredients are all on display in the band’s debut Lagniappe Session, as they tackle tunes by Tim Gane’s pre-‘Lab band McCarthy and Britpop synth-sters Dubstar, in addition to a delightful French language rendition of the old Frank ‘n’ Nancy Sinatra chestnut “Somethin’ Stupid.” C’est magnifique! The band’s notes on their selections, below.

En Attendant Ana :: Red Sleeping Beauty (McCarthy)

Working on covers is an exercise we really love in EAA, we always played at least one cover during our shows, The Velvet Underground for a long time, The Pogues more recently… So when we were asked to work on the Lagniappe Sessions we were really excited and had a lot of different ideas and wishes. But I have to say that, as a singer, I prefer a song that I’m quite familiar with so that I can sing it more easily and have time to focus on arrangements and back vocals. I got into McCarthy a few years ago. I was really into 80’s indie pop, Flyin’ Nun records and stuff when I heard Red Sleeping Beauty for the first time. I fell in love with the melody first but the lyrics as well. They were openly and frankly political yet sensitive and hopeful. My ideal definition of pop lyrics. When I discovered that Tim Gane (from Stereolab) was in McCarthy as well I was like “oh, makes sense ». For this cover we tried to nod at the original version through the drumming pattern (with a kind of martial beat, toms and a strong snare), the bass line or some of the guitar sounds we used but we tried to lean towards a perhaps lighter and poppier version than the original.

En Attendant Ana :: Just a Girl She Said (Dubstar)

We didn’t have much time to work on those covers so at first we thought we wouldn’t have enough time to do something on this Dubstar track. What happened is that we actually worked pretty quickly on the rest and that one night, Vincent and I looked at each other and said “well, let’s give it a try, if we don’t have anything in a couple hours we stop.” We simplified the chord progression and the structure and focused on the bass and synths. I recorded the vocals during the night and then we added layers of melodies and textures before removing some of them to shape the song removing elements instead of adding some.

En Attendant Ana :: Ces Mots Stupides (Sacha Distel)

Camille and I’ve always wanted to cover Somethin’ Stupid and that was the perfect occasion. I knew I wanted to have something in French for this session but I could only think of 60s ye-ye songs so we checked if a French version of Somethin’ Stupid existed as it was really common to have French versions of American hits back at the time. And it did! We are starting to work on our next album that will be based on the ideas of luck, chance and random both on the form and content. For Ces Mots Stupides, we tried to follow the concept of serendipity by keeping mistakes, unexpected sound artifacts created by digital processes and even exaggerating it which gives us many ideas for the future.  

Lagniappe Sessions Archives / layout via Ian Everett

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