Early in her career, Belgian singer Claude Lombard came to the attention of many Europeans with her song “Quand tu reviendras” (“When You Come Back”), which was entered into the Eurovision contest in 1968. Americans, no doubt having no real recollection of the Eurovision contest, or the ’68 year in particular’s allegations of vote rigging, would have absolutely no touchstone for Lombard. However, the following year after her seventh place entry in the contest, she recorded this undersung gem of psychedelic chamber folk. The record, sung entirely in French, leans well into the burgeoning styles of psych-folk that were cropping up in the US and UK at the time, but swings with an proto-motorik pop appeal on several tracks. As has been noted, the resulting record swirls with the same kind of fragile hallucinogenic qualities that would surface in works by Stereolab, Broadcast and more recently, Jane Weaver.
The record is a pristine lounge classic, conjuring up images of Dutch modern furniture and molded plastic vases. The record is haunting in its almost perfect vision of edge-less pop swaddled in Lombard’s radiant delivery. Following the record Lombard would not achieve pop prominence, though she would record a few other albums and continue to sing with several French television programs including the French version of Fraggle Rock. Spain’s Sommor records has put her masterpiece back into print and a generation now reared on Stereolab and Broadcast should probably take notice. The record hasn’t lost a step since its inception and may actually have become more relevant in the interim, proving once again there’s still no bottom in the barrel of invaluable reissues if you look hard enough.
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