Tuesday, April 14th, sees the release of ‘Petits Fours’, the debut album from Grand Duchy, aka Violet Clark and Black Francis. Featuring 9 tracks, ‘Petits Fours’ is the joint venture between Clark and Francis, rather than a solo Francis project, and contains driving bass lines, a healthy dose of synths and some excellent vocals from Clark, alongside Francisâ€™s trademark guitar squalls.
â€œOnce upon a time, Violet and I went into the studio together for a day as an experiment, and we came out that night with ‘Fort Wayne’,â€ explains Francis. â€œA leaked version seemed to please others, and so we decided to continue the â€˜experimentâ€™. We decided that, while we were not expert players on all rock ensemble instruments, we would play everything ourselves as we had done on the Fort Wayne session.
â€œShe was innocent. I hadn’t felt innocent for years. She digs the 80’s. I had spent the latter part of the 80’s doing my part to destroy the 80’s. Our second recording session involved a fair amount of shouting and throwing things, much to the horror, I’m sure, of our two engineers Thaddeus Moore and Jason Carter; being pros they just smiled at us.
â€œA â€˜bandâ€™ truce developed. Over time we threw less objects and began to enjoy our creative tension. We fantasized about the future, about success, as new bands do, and decided during a drive to the studio that we would take any proceeds and make a down payment on a house in Luxembourg (for some strange reason, I can’t remember now – perhaps my longstanding obsession with micro states). I guess that’s where the name Grand Duchy came from. Maybe that’s where we will come from one day. Crossroads of Europe. Near to here and there, but far from Oregon. Cold, grey Oregon.
â€œI guess Luxembourg isn’t exactly St. Tropez, either. But we could rule our Garage Rock Synth Chick Non-Stop Erotik Poussez-Poussez Dominion from a place like that. Just a little place on the river, in the ravine, in the trees, in the stars. Our pied-de-terre. A place to stop on our way to your European nite klub.â€
Available on CD and as a digital album, the full tracklisting is as follows :
1. Come On Over To My House
3. Fort Wayne
4. Seeing Stars
5. Black Suit
6. The Long Song
7. Break The Angels