Delirium Tremens is the third volume of Mick Harvey’s Serge Gainbourg translations and follows the recent reissue of the first two volumes – Intoxicated Man and Pink Elephants – as a double album in 2014. The intervening years have, of course, been full of activity and dozens of releases including four solo albums and several albums as a member of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and in collaboration with PJ Harvey. So what led to the rekindling of interest in the songs of Serge?
Delirium Tremens brings us another wide cross-section of Gainsbourg material. From 1976’s ‘The Man With The Cabbage Head’ (L’homme à Tête De Chou) all the way back to early songs such as ‘Deadly Tedium’ (Ce Mortel Ennui) and ‘Coffee Colour’ (Couleur Cafe) from the late 50s and early 60s. There is even a version of ‘SS C’est Bon’ (Est-ce Est-ce Si Bon), from Gainsbourg’s controversial album Rock Around The Bunker, an album drenched in black humour and bad taste, coming as it does from a French man with Jewish ancestry.
In addition, Harvey presents a selection of five songs from the TV special ‘Anna’ (starring Anna Karina) – including ‘Don’t Say A Thing’ (Ne Dis Rien) – with the female parts here executed with enormous charm by Xanthe Waite who has been joining Harvey on his recent shows. The album is rounded out by a beautiful rendering of the late period Jane Birkin duet ‘The Decadance’ (La Décadanse) with Harvey joined on vocals by his wife Katy Beale.
Mick Harvey began Work on the album, in in late 2015 on what will be Volumes 3 and 4. Recording in Melbourne with his Antipodean-based core live band, 10 songs were tracked at Birdland Studios. The project then relocated to Berlin where a further nine songs were recorded with Toby Dammit (The Stooges, The Residents) and Bertrand Burgalat (of French label Tricatel) who was the string arranger on the first two volumes.
DELIRIUM TREMENS TRACKLISTING
The Man With The Cabbage Head (L’homme à Tête De Chou)
Deadly Tedium (Ce Mortel Ennui)
Coffee Colour (Couleur Cafe)
The Convict’s Song (Chanson de Forçat)
SS C’est Bon (Est-ce Est-ce Si Bon)
I Envisage (J’envisage)
A Day Like Any Other (Un Jour Comme Un Autre)
A Violent Poison (That’s What Love Is) (Un Poison Violent C’est Ça L’amour)
More and More, Less and Less (De Plus en Plus De Moins en Moins)
Don’t Say A Thing (Ne Dis Rien)
The Decadance (La Décadanse)