Iberian expats trawl for wondrous verbal novelties


Les Baton Rouge are Portuguese, now in Berlin, name seems French (why the plural article and singular noun?), lyrics seem English. Reminiscent of the first female postpunk era: Delta 5, Au Pairs, Kleenex/Lilliput, Essential Logic. Back in 1980, the squall having blown over, these groups twisted and refashioned the debris for themselves, on their home stoves, re-creating punk rock as a second language with more wonder and novelty for them than for the men born to it.

A quarter-century later, a young band revisiting these refashionings doesn’t bounce off the world with the same ka-boing. But Les Baton Rouge get a nice groove going. Singer Suspiria Franklyn has that woman sound from 1980, a voice that’s deep but that’ll regularly belch its way up to the higher register, yapping and hupping for emphasis. Pushy. It elbows its way in. Her lyrics are expressive rather than intelligible, having something to do with the sensuous bodyflop of romantic contact. The expressivity on My Body—The Pistol is helped by Franklyn’s emphatic but not quite idiomatic English: “One kiss can maintain you sane for now.” “Mind on Earth, feet on the walk.” “Everyone wants to bruise and laugh, but I’ll love you ever.” “Madness is so much that I would like to bite myself.” “I screw all the words that he used for cheating. I screw all my mind when I am dreaming.” Yeah, I screw record reviews that are used for cheating. I screw all my words when I am dreaming. Mind on Earth, feet on the laugh. I like to bite myself.