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July/August 2006

Jean-Paul Bourelly
News From a Darked Out Room
Phonector

Had Jean Paul Bourelly recorded another post-Hendrix, Afro-fusion blowout—the sort of thing on which he built his career—he probably would have posed for the cover photo with an electric guitar. Would he also be wearing a shirt? One can only assume. As it happens, the guitarist and his naked torso pose in bed. He pokes at the camera lens with a lit cigar. An acoustic guitar leans against a bureau behind him. What this questionable image tells us is that Bourelly is switching things up. News From a Darked Out Room (“darked out”?) presents the sensitive, raw Bourelly, the bedroom lothario Bourelly. He picks, strums and thumps the acoustic guitar and sings about sex.

On the recording’s few instrumentals, Bourelly pairs back his rapid-fire style. Spare and spacious, the tunes light on sketches of melody, fly off, and return. As for his vocal turns, that’s another matter entirely. He has a nice baritone, but he sings in an awkward, sort-of-bluesy style. With his lyrics and delivery, he aims to be suggestive but ends up with something both bizarre and unsettling. Psychoanalysts and literary critics, make what you will of this from “Cross Cut Saw”: “I’m your cross cut saw, drag me across your log/ Cut your wood so good for you, baby, you can’t help but say hot dog.”

Originally published in July/August 2006
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