lorraine exoticaFrench one-man band King Automatic now has four albums on Voodoo Rhythm and still can’t make up his mind what musical genre we should put him in. Amen to that. This record is his most cosmopolitan so far.

“Lorraine Exotica” bounces from exotic organ-drenched garage to fuzz-soaked blues to Jamaican rock steady, with maracas, Russian folk music and trash exotica thrown in along the way. It jumps around like a tenderfoot tourist in Fiji lingering too long on hot coals. King Automatic has toured everywhere from Eastern Europe to South America and this album sounds like he’s sending a musical postcard from every stop.

Most of his songs are in English but King (can you call royalty by their first name?) isn’t afraid to lapse into his native tongue - like on the jaunty “Drunk Friends” and the sultry “Lee Marvin”. The rock steady “En Passant Par La Lorraine” sounds to these ears like thick patois (but it’s probably just French).

When he stays in the garage on a track like “What’s Your Poison?”, King Automatic rocks with the best of the rest. This song alone is worth the price of admission. On the other hand, “All Crossed Out In Red” references his Ukranian forebears and sounds a lot like The Dead Brothers - which is to say Central European and weird.

The title track smokes on the back of a syncopated rhythm and King Automatic’s wiry guitar. “Plan B (Adopt a Lap Dancer)” is a lurching Chicago blues with bar-room piano. "The Beginner Witch" features slinky alligator guitar that reminds you King Automatic CAN play. 

Feeling adventurous? King Automatic isn’t afraid to toss in loops and samples. A traditional blues man he is not. “Lorraine Exotica” lives up to its title’s inference: Exotica par excellence.


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