Christened after the boisterous garage rocker from Feufollet’s 2008 Cow Island Hop, Prends Courage marks the group’s 20th anniversary with 17 tracks culled from seven albums and a ’45’ with two new songs and an unearthed track making a public debut.
Other than the opening dancehall stomper “Dans le magasin,” one of the two new offerings, everything is chronologically arranged to illustrate the group’s artistic progression. Of course, some of Feufollet’s most popular songs are here, such as the paint-peeling “Cow Island Hop,” “Femme l’a dit” with its radical Dixieland flourish, and Anna Laura Edmiston’s Spotify hit of sorts “Au fond du lac.”
Through the course of this compilation, it’s apparent how groundbreaking Feufollet’s marvelously arranged and composed material really is. The sans-accordion “Je m’endors” is haunting and mystical, while Edmiston’s “Berceuse du vieux voyageur” is strikingly beautiful. Chris Stafford’s “Les jours sont longs” is similarly stunning with its Beatlesque harmonies and sunny chords that defy any standard chord progression. Within a few years of its inception, Feufollet realized not every song had to revolve around the proverbial accordion-fiddle axis but could stand proudly on its own artistic merit.
The previously shelved track, Edmiston’s “Regard ensoleillé” is best described as a trippy Cajun Radiohead and is the proceedings’ crown jewel. Layered and joyfully spacey, it concludes with Andrew Toups’ mounting keyboard work that’s head-spinning enough to feel like timeless space travel. As this encompassing snapshot illustrates, Feufollet accomplished a ton here while evolving its own identity.