March 02, 2005

Sukilove "You Kill Me"

Sometimes, changing your sound only requires working with a producer. That’s certainly the case with Sukilove’s third album, You Kill Me. Sukilove, the moniker for Belgian musician Pascal Deweze, has released two records of country-tinged indie-pop; both were good records, but compared to the explosion of sound found on You Kill Me it’s obvious that Deweze had yet to realize his full potential. Enlisting the help of John Morand (producer of such distinctive acts as Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven and Sparklehorse) has seemingly broken the indie-pop country melancholia heard on his previous album, Sukilove or his debut Talking In The Dark. In fact, listening to either of those two records simultaneously with You Kill Me might be a bit confusing, because Sukilove’s new rock direction is quite different than anything Deweze has done in the past.

With a toughened-up style, Sukilove’s reinvention is positively inspired. Deweze is in fine voice; he sings with raw emotion that has a certain power not found in his other releases. While occasionally the gentle side of Sukilove past does make an appearance (“I Didn’t Mean It That Way”), for the most part, Deweze is living out his rock and roll fantasies. “1234” sounds like a contemporary of The Hellacopters and The Soundtrack of our Lives, and then there’s the insane power blast of “Secrets.” Sukilove finally sounds like a band and not merely the realization of one man’s musical ideas.

Don’t think for a moment, though, that this new found rock and roll fantasy is at the expense of his tunefulness, because that’s not the case. He’s still a literate pop composer, and just because he’s turned up the rock doesn’t mean he’s dumbed down the message. Just listen to the title track; it’s a slinky, sneaky blues-rock number, but it’s also quite a powerful little song about love, about empowering himself after being broken by a woman who’s torn his heart up in twenty places, one who he is inexplicably drawn to, even though he knows better. “You can’t treat me you always do/I’ll always be a fool for you,” he sings in a powerful yell not seen since John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey.”

Indeed, he can still write an engaging melody; all of the songs on You Kill Me are instantly catchy. The title You Kill Me reminds more of a friendly proclamation of greatness than it does a murderous threat, and it’s certainly a perfect description for Sukilove’s new direction.

--Joseph Kyle

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