Review

First released in 1997, Mojo Radio marked the ascent of French band Lo'Jo to the international stage. In different forms they'd been around for a long time, centered around the talents of singer/composer Denis Péan. By now they'd developed into a full-fledged band, with the core of Péan and violinist Richard Bourreau augmented by a rhythm section, the singing El Mourid sisters, and accordion. A tight live unit, they managed to transfer their unusual live sound to the studio, blending elements of chanson, North Africa, Gypsy music, and reggae. There's even a touch of pop on the title cut, which blossoms into a glorious, infectious low-key chorus. Péan himself sounds like a world-weary blend of Tom Waits and Serge Gainsbourg, but with a far more surreal charm, while the sisters add Algerian panache to a track like "Mira Zunik." Guest Mahaboub Khan brings Indian Gypsy qualities to "Si Jamais Si," while Bourreau's fiddle work takes on virtuosic qualities at times. It's the sound of a band that's served its apprenticeship finally coming of age in splendid, individual fashion. ~ Chris Nickson, Rovi

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