SEE ALSO : THE BRISTOLS
Attracted to the British music scene of the time, Fabienne moved to London in 1996, almost immediately joining the Bristols, a then studio project consisting of Liam Watson and Ed Deegan, two producer-engineers at Toerag Studios.
Fabienne had never really sung before but after Liam’s proposition for an audition and knowing that his taste in music was so perfectly matching hers, she was determined to give it a go. The first single ‘Questions I Can’t Answer’ was recorded in a couple of hours, the first vocal take being used on the record that came out the same year on a Damaged Goods 7”. The Bristols were by then willing to make the most of it and in order to play live and tour decided to form a full line up, including members of the Headcoats, Kaisers and Cee Bee Beaumont.
After two albums, a few singles and several tours of Europe, the Bristols came to an end when Fabienne was unable to find a suitable new bass player to replace the original one. Eager to carry on singing, Fabienne went solo, getting backing from various musicians but with no fixed line up.
With the help of Liam Watson producing, Fabienne recorded her first album ‘No Time For Sorrows’ concentrating on a more elaborate but similar style she had previously experienced with the Bristols. One of the key tracks, ‘I’m Gonna Haunt You’ received extensive airplay on Australian radio, as well as the French ‘Laisse Tomber Les Filles’. One track ‘Pied Piper’ has recently been used on a American TV advert for the PayLess Shoe Store!
A few years later and after a few months of recording sessions at Toe Rag, the second album ‘Between You And Me’ was released in 2007, preceded by Fabienne’s first solo 7” single ‘I’m Gonna Catch Me A Rat’ with an exclusive b-side ‘And I Have Learned To Dream’, again thanks to some great playing and impeccable production from Messrs Liam Watson and Ed Turner. The album features writing contributions from Pete Molinari (who also plays guitar on one track), George Miller and Peder Bernhardt and this time round more songs in French.
2009 saw Fabienne make some rare live appearances throughout Europe and also a UK tour as main support to The Dandy Warhols.
2010 saw the release of her third solo album entitled ‘On My Mind’ which came out in October. Put together in studio down-time and ably backed by Toe Rag’s great stable of musicians, “On My Mind” features Fabienne’s customary mixture of both English and French lyrics sung with plenty of coquettish charm. With songs and production so authentically ‘60s they could have been taken from tapes gathering dust in Serge Gainsbourg’s garage for the last 40 years.
The album marked something of a departure from the jaunty beat-pop and ye-ye of her previous albums with a definite autumnal feel to several of the tracks, putting you in mind of what the much mooted Francoise Hardy/Nick Drake collaboration might have yielded. Lyrically the bulk of the album addresses the melancholic side of love and has a slightly trippy and introspective edge, most notably on “Strange Shadows” and the title track “On my Mind” with its phased drums and “Strawberry Fields” style moog motifs.
Fast forward nine years to 2019 (where does the time go!?) and Fabienne releases her fourth solo LP, suitably titled “Four”. The album is a culmination of a year or so’s activity at Toerag studios. The big change this time around is the co-production by Fabienne alongside Luke Oldfield, himself a long-time engineer and producer at Toerag. Though swathed in the same toil and tears of her previous three solo albums, Four has a more nuanced and mature sound, rooted in psych whilst retaining some snappy French pop and ‘60s garage styles of auld. There is also a mass of complimentary instruments, in particular the Mellotron is a welcome and worthy addition to many of the tracks. The contemporary and original songs ‘I’ll Never Be Lonely Again’ and ‘See How They Run’ are masterfully crafted for Fabienne’s distinct delivery, and both feature a strong ‘60s groove in-keeping with her trademark sound, the latter being a contender for the highlight of this classy album.
As is archetypal of a Fabienne Delsol LP, carefully chosen covers are lovingly interpreted via Fabienne’s delicate voice – take Lyme and Cybelle’s ‘Follow Me’, itself a wonderful heavy-handed garage-folk jaunt, or the stunning take on the Human Beinz’ second album opener ‘Face’, a spellbindingly solid piece – praise indeed to the assembled players on both. A lifelong devotee of “the Quo”, it’s no surprise then to hear Fabienne tackling a Spare Parts album track, only here ‘When I Awake’ is pared-back and sparkling, whilst Francoise Hardy’s smouldering French classic ‘J’ai Fait Du Lui Un Reve’ is reimagined with a sumptuous air of the ethereal, with stark emotion in that voice and slowly building up tonal layers as the track progresses – you’ll struggle to hear anything as haunting.