Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks is a commonly sited influence on a broad spectrum of musicians, but it’s rare to hear a set of songs that are as close to channeling the curmudgeonly Irishman as this EP from French anti-folkers Herman Düne.
The two-piece band is in a typically playful mood across this breezy five-song collection, with singer David-Ivar making frequent conversational asides and enjoying a little banter with his newly appointed female backing singers, the Woo-Woo’s. “Take Him Back to New York City” is the highlight here, with its marriage of lazy horns and a fine piece of storytelling that recalls the recently resurgent Paul Simon.
David-Ivar and his partner, Neman, never quite shake off their influences (Morrison, Dylan, Belle & Sebastian, Arthur Lee), but it matters little when the songs are this effortless and life affirming.
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