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Maxwell Farrington|Once

Once

Maxwell Farrington and Le Superhomard

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Though not their first collaboration, Once is the first co-credited album by mid-century-pop stylist Le SuperHomard (producer Christophe Vaillant) and well-cast art-pop vocalist Maxwell Farrington. Utterly anachronistic at the time of its release in 2021, it takes a deep dive, songwriting-wise, into a distinctive niche of the charts of the 1960s. With a straight face and imperfect pitch, Farrington interprets a dozen Vaillant compositions in the realm of the highly cinematic, narrative pop of Tom Jones, "Rawhide," and "The Ballad of the Green Berets." The Frenchman and Australian met in Paris when Vaillant introduced himself at the 2019 MaMA Festival after hearing Farrington sing an a cappella version of a Burt Bacharach tune for a sound check. The singer's full-bodied baritone takes center stage right out of the gate on "We, Us the Pharaohs," entering on the line "A vine goes in the jungle like a line goes on a page" after a breezy arrangement of strings, vibraphone-like keys, strummed acoustic guitar, and lite rhythm section is established. Other lyrics on the album contain turns of phrase such as "Bites like a denture into tin" and "My arms are like thighs, I've feeling out of sorts." Contemporary elements, like the synthesizer mentioned in "Oysters," help Once sidestep pure pastiche, but the spirits of Hazlewood and Morricone never stray far. Acknowledging the album's elegant arrangements and fierce dedication to a vibe, Once gets to be too much of the same thing three-quarters of the way through, though any selection here would stand on its own on a curated playlist. In the context of the album, however, when vocalist Evelyn Ida Morris appears on the girl groups-inspired 11th entry, "Big Ben," it's a welcome change of pace, as is the wistful, harmonic-visited instrumental "La Mesa Motel" featuring Max Meser on fingerstyle guitar.
© Marcy Donelson /TiVo

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Once

Maxwell Farrington

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1
We, Us The Pharaohs
00:02:37

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

2
North Pole
00:03:11

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

3
Free Again
00:02:53

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

4
Lights & Seasons
00:03:23

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

5
Love
00:03:32

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

6
La Mesa Motel (Feat. Max Meser)
00:03:10

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

7
Good Start
00:02:49

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

8
Oysters
00:02:29

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

9
Hips
00:03:02

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

10
Happening Again
00:03:00

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

11
Big Ben (Feat. Evelyn Ida Morris)
00:03:08

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

12
Tonight
00:04:01

Le SuperHomard, MainArtist - Talitres, MusicPublisher - Maxwell Farrington, MainArtist - Maxwell Farrington, Christophe Vaillant, Composer - Christophe Vaillant, Maxwell Farrington, Lyricist

2021 Talitres 2021 Talitres

Album Description

Though not their first collaboration, Once is the first co-credited album by mid-century-pop stylist Le SuperHomard (producer Christophe Vaillant) and well-cast art-pop vocalist Maxwell Farrington. Utterly anachronistic at the time of its release in 2021, it takes a deep dive, songwriting-wise, into a distinctive niche of the charts of the 1960s. With a straight face and imperfect pitch, Farrington interprets a dozen Vaillant compositions in the realm of the highly cinematic, narrative pop of Tom Jones, "Rawhide," and "The Ballad of the Green Berets." The Frenchman and Australian met in Paris when Vaillant introduced himself at the 2019 MaMA Festival after hearing Farrington sing an a cappella version of a Burt Bacharach tune for a sound check. The singer's full-bodied baritone takes center stage right out of the gate on "We, Us the Pharaohs," entering on the line "A vine goes in the jungle like a line goes on a page" after a breezy arrangement of strings, vibraphone-like keys, strummed acoustic guitar, and lite rhythm section is established. Other lyrics on the album contain turns of phrase such as "Bites like a denture into tin" and "My arms are like thighs, I've feeling out of sorts." Contemporary elements, like the synthesizer mentioned in "Oysters," help Once sidestep pure pastiche, but the spirits of Hazlewood and Morricone never stray far. Acknowledging the album's elegant arrangements and fierce dedication to a vibe, Once gets to be too much of the same thing three-quarters of the way through, though any selection here would stand on its own on a curated playlist. In the context of the album, however, when vocalist Evelyn Ida Morris appears on the girl groups-inspired 11th entry, "Big Ben," it's a welcome change of pace, as is the wistful, harmonic-visited instrumental "La Mesa Motel" featuring Max Meser on fingerstyle guitar.
© Marcy Donelson /TiVo

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