Early on, the Cajun wunderkind Feufollet proved capable purveyors of the trad dancehall variety. By their third album, Tout Un Beau Soir, a self-awareness established the framework that they have built upon ever since. Granted, they can still slam it in a traditional dancehall sense, but the disc’s beauty lies within its cavernous creativity, boundless ingenuity and risk-taking experiments. A Dennis McGee standard (“Cowboy Waltz”) starts as if it originated in Appalachia. Toy pianos, glockenspiels, banjos and trumpets push aside the proverbial accordion-fiddle tandem on a tune from the Lomax Archives that’s playfully sung by Chris Stafford and Anna Laura Edmiston.
Original material plays a major role here with nine originals, including “Les Berceuse Du Vieux Voyageur,” a beautiful ballad that’s sung by Edmiston. Stafford’s “Toujours En Mouvement” replaces the accordion and fiddle with pounding pianos and whirling organs as if Elvis Costello was once a poppy Cajun.
Between tracks are brief interludes that deconstruct other tunes. Obviously, not all of this is Cajun dancehall music, but several songs, like the melodic “Les Jours Sont Longs,” could easily wend their way into the Francophone pop world. But be forewarned: unless you have satellite antennae ears, don’t expect to absorb all of this within a few superficial listens.