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"Strange Moosic"

Herman Dune – Strange Moosic
14 June 2011, 08:58 Written by Gina Louise

Strange Moosic is the latest musical foray from Parisian duo Herman Dune, opening with the single ‘Tell Me Something I Don’t Know’. I was particularly excited about this track, as I’d heard rumour that Jon Hamm featured on the video. Don’t judge me – I’m only a woman after all. Yet after a disconcerting minute of wondering whether this was a video bringing to light a new form of paedophilic fluffy toy grooming, I began to fall in love with the jaunty tune instead.

Its somewhat generic opening seems to be the trademark to most Herman Dune tracks: slow openers that only reveal themselves as masterpieces after a good few listens. Truth be told, unless a friend of mine had put ‘Not on Top’ on a compilation he gave me, I never would’ve given them a chance. But once you get past that bland indie exterior, you’re welcomed into a little hub of activity: whimsical melodies, enigmatic lyrics and playful percussion.

I think it’s their lyrics that draw me in. The minimal melodies and simple back tracks wouldn’t be my cup of tea unless it were for the romantic weave of stories binding it all together. Vocals don’t tell tales often enough in my book, and it’s refreshing to follow a trail of breadcrumbs from start to finish in a song. You get dragged into the highs and lows; you connect in a way that a simple chorus / verse arrangement wouldn’t allow.

One of my favourite throw away lines of the album is “kind of girl to jump out of a window”. This is typical of the paradoxical lyrics that bridges the gap between fantasy and realism, and I believe it’s only successful due to the sturdy relationship between the two friends. Their genuine affection seeps through into their music, and the coherence and fluidity of the music in songs such as ‘Be a Doll and Take my Heart’ and ‘Lay Your Head on My Chest’ wouldn’t exist without it.

Herman Dune must be up there with indie pop greats, such as Belle and Sebastian and Lekman. Whilst their tenth album is arguably their best, I can never escape the feeling that they are more of a singles band, however I fear that is my own inadequacy to commit to any length of indie without panicking. Strange Moosic IS well worth a listen – or five if you’re a non-believer like me.

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