"La Nuit des Balançoires"
1. Pas de chance pour les Wilson
2. Le goût de toi
3. Je livre des moustiques
4. On a tout brûlé
5. Je vais au Brésil
6. La collection
7. Fouille-toi

France is a strange place: black humour, nonsense & weirdness are basic ingredients in the films of Tim Burton, David Lynch or Tarantino, who are all the darlings of the French public. So are Paul Auster's metaphysical thrillers and Raymond Carver's dark novels, to name but a few. Yet there are almost no equivalents of these atmospheres in the tepid world of French pop music... "almost", because Hugo is a brilliant exception to the rule.

The title of his album translates as "The Night Of The Seesaws". It is inhabited by the naive and the bizarre, the childlike and the macabre... these antagonistic elements coexist side by side, like animals in some old fable (or like piano keys in some old tune). Each song is like a miniature short story. This young man nourishes a deep affection for mystery: he must have read too many books by Conan Doyle when he was a teenager...(or was it Steven Millhauser, Borges and Patrick Mc Grath?)

Hugo sings his sentimental and cruel tales with an angelic voice, in a happy or detached tone. He knows how to write real songs, with all the necessary elements: captivating verses, big choruses, enchanted yet spiky melodies, lovely vocal harmonies which betray his love for some great moments in the history of pop & folk (here, refrain from naming the obvious Beach Boys, Neil Young, Kinks... or the less-than-obvious Sufjan Stevens, Handsome Family, Pernice Brothers...)

Lets not forget to mention the inventive arrangements, ranging from limpid to quirky, which often play a part in the narrative (to the great delight of those who don't understand French or can't be bothered to use a dictionary).

"La Nuit..." was subtly mixed by the great Yann Arnaud (Air's recording engineer, who also works with Syd Matters, Cocosuma etc). As for the cover and booklet artwork, it is graced by a series of exclusive drawings by French star cartoonists Dupuy & Berberian.

This isn't Hugo's first opus: his debut album ("La Formule") came out on Crammed in the late ‘90s, along with a couple of singles which had been serious radio hits. Hugo then mysteriously disappeared for several years. His record company hired a couple of famous Belgian detectives to try and track him down, but all they came back with were some unlikely assumptions (a secret stay in North Vietnam ? Gold digging in the Kalahari ?). The bottom line is that Hugo is alive and well and back and in great shape...

By combining his perfect songsmith craft with his true talent as a story-teller, his sweet melodies with his barbed lyrics, Hugo offers us a very peculiar and delectable brew.


HUGO - La Nuit des Balançoires
La Nuit des Balançoires
HUGO - La Formule
La Formule