You'd be forgiven for thinking it's all about Alexandra's looks and voice. And one look at the Lola video would reinforce that view ;)
But you'd be missing the point... invest a little more time, listen a little deeper and you'll realise it's also about the clever, witty lyrics; the memorable melodies and the fabulous latin/jazz/swing/reggae flavoured arrangements from those talented Sunflowers!
"There's a thin line that separates the seductively sexy from the overtly trashy. Alexandra Legouix knows where that line is and with the backing of The Sunflowers, she explores the limits of the seductive side without pushing it too far. Her lovely, slightly husky, intensely sultry voice would stand well on its own, but is instead paired up with some marvelously exotic arrangements... oozing musical talent as much as sex appeal"
(Heath Andrews, review)
The story so far:
By late 2009, Alexandra Legouix (Al to her friends) was already carving a reputation for herself as a singer, actress, model and presenter - but she was looking for an outlet for her song-writing ideas. Previous song-writing ventures had always proved frustrating for Al; although she was an inventive lyricist and had good melodic ideas, she felt she needed a co-writing musician who was on the same wavelength, to exchange melodic and lyrical ideas, and to provide chord structures, etc. Everyone she tried to write with seemed to be content with merely copying the latest pop trends... but Al wanted something more challenging and more musically satisfying:
"I wanted to create something unique, drawing on all my influences to come up with a sound that 's modern,
but not cliche'd... a unique, cool vibe... something to connect with audiences on several levels" says Al.
Anyway, about that time, Al sent a demo CD to her local radio station, BBC Berkshire. They selected it for their BBC Introducing programme in January 2010 and she won the panel vote... Al was thrilled, but part of the prize was a gig at a local venue, The Oakford in Reading, which was fantastic. But she didn't have a full set of songs... and she didn't have a band!
As luck would have it, she had recently met Martyn "Nero" Ellis whilst playing in a covers band together. To cut a long story short, she asked Nero if he could help her write a set of songs and put a band together for the gig. From the first song-writing session it was clear that they had a shared vision.... three songs came out of that session - Let's Go, Lola and Balcony of Wonder - and at last Al felt that she had found the direction she had been searching for. Nero's jazzy, latin-flavoured guitar grooves gave her the ideal platform to create the kind of songs she knew were within her - playful but poignant, melodic but groovy, sexy but not trashy.Nero says:
"For a muso like me, who's had the misfortune to work with some pretty difficult singers in the past, Al's just a dream to work with. She's always coming up with clever ideas... such creative energy... she works really hard and has amazing natural talent, without being a diva in any way. Best of all, she's got a wicked sense of humour!!"
The debut gig was a great success and the rest of 2010 saw them gigging the new band and recording the first batch of songs... the EP "Let's Go" was released in early 2011 and received some great reviews... 2011 saw the band go through various line-ups live, but the core of Al & Nero continued to write new material, much of which appears on their first full album - entitled "This One's For You"... but the line up is now settled and consists of Al + Nero with Al's childhood friend Lizzie Sambrook on sax, plus newer additions Tracey Ayer on bass, and James Argyle on guitar.
Resulting from a successful Pledge campaign to raise funds for the band's promotion, the video to "Lola" was shot in January 2013, directed by the hugely talented Brad Watson - and within one month of release it had already received over 1 million YouTube views!
2013 looks to be very exciting for the band; they are currently working on a batch of new material - watch this space!
Alexandra Legouix - Accordion, Vocals / Songwriter
Nero - Guitar, Writer, Keys & Vocals
Lizzie Sambrook - Alto Saxophone
Tracey Ayer - Bass, Cuatro
James Argyle - Guitar
Debut album "This One's For You" out now on iTunes, Amazon etc and via the band's own website: www.alsunflowers.com
Available for streaming on Radio Airplay:
She may bite... but you won't object...
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Artist: Alexandra Legouix & The Sunflowers Album: Relax…I Won’t Bite…unless you want me to? Review...Artist: Alexandra Legouix & The Sunflowers
Album: Relax…I Won’t Bite…unless you want me to?
Review by: Heath Andrews
There’s a thin line that separates the seductively sexy from the overtly trashy. Alexandra Legouix knows where that line is and with the backing of her band, The Sunflowers, she explores the limits of the seductive side without pushing it too far. Her lovely, slightly husky, intensely sultry voice would stand well on its own, but is instead paired up with some marvelously exotic Latin arrangements. These sounds match the sensual lyrics to form an EP that oozes musical talent as much as it oozes sex appeal.
Drawing inspiration from the song, “Whatever Lola Wants” from the musical Damn Yankees, Legouix & The Sunflowers begin with the aptly titled, “Lola.” Though each song features the same opening line, Legouix’s writing goes in a completely different direction lyrically and musically. This version describes a beautiful woman who goes completely unwanted by her man despite her efforts to entice him. As a result, she goes horribly unsatisfied and yearns to break away, “To a place of excitement and pure enticement/Naughty fun, cardinal sin.” The arrangement is very Latin in nature given its Spanish guitar sounds and artful use of the violin. Mention has to be made of Legouix’s co-writer and multi-instrumentalist, Martyn, “Nero” Ellis. Ellis is able to create wonderful arrangements with effective layering of keyboards in and around the other instrumentation. “Lola” is also included at the end of the EP in an extended mix, more than twice the length of the radio edit. This version goes ever further to highlight the structure Legouix and Ellis crafted for the track given how engaging it is for such an extended cut.
“Perfectly Entwined” follows suit by keeping up the Latin atmosphere but mixing up the instrumentation a bit. The keyboards are present in playing a synthesized string and xylophone type sound, while flourishes of the alto saxophone creep in to make the song sound more atmospheric. Legouix plays to the up-tempo pace by ripping through a lyric whose chorus quickly reads, “Get it on, we’re the same/Take a chance, play the game/It’s your life, who do you want to be…” This pace is due in no small part to the fantastic bass performance from Tony Dodd.
Opening with the sound of waves, “Jealousy” has a more relaxed, island atmosphere, bolstered yet again by the saxophone work of Lizzie Sambrook. In keeping with the laid-back tone, most of the performances are very subdued; even the guitar solo that Ellis offers up is methodical and understated, even though there’s undeniable passion in every note he plays. Also of note on this track is how Legouix explores her range, allowing her voice to ascend into higher notes during the chorus. She handles these sections beautifully, in a tone that could be described as a kind of breathless tease.
The last song, (outside of the extended mix of “Lola”) “Time To Go (Berlin Babylon)” mixes up the sound further by swapping out the previously heard instruments for piano and accordion. It’s another unique twist that thematically works with the songs prior, but still sounds different enough to be engaging. The accordion is mostly used for atmosphere while the brief but bouncy piano solos are perfectly suited for the energy and momentum carried in the arrangement and the lyric. Legouix sings about walking through Berlin, taking in the sights and constantly moving about. The fun little rap she includes near the end of the song is achingly poetic, describing where Berlin has come from over the last few decades and what the city means to the people who live there. It’s a serious moment amidst a playful sounding tune that fits in remarkably well.
Alexandra Legouix & The Sunflowers put forth an outstanding but far too brief EP with Relax…I Won’t Bite… Not counting the second version of Lola, there are really only four songs here, but each of them sizzle thanks largely to Legouix’s delivery but also in no small part to The Sunflowers. The use of various instruments from the violin to the saxophone to create and amplify a strong Latin sound is a strong asset to the EP and listeners will certainly enjoy it. The extended title states that Legouix won’t bite unless you want her to, but after a couple seconds into “Lola” her teeth are already there, and you won’t object to it either.
Review by: Heath Andrews
Rating: 4.5 Stars (out of 5)
Alexandra possess a voice that oozes sex appeal
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"Alexandra possess a voice that oozes sex appeal, the sort of voice that'll bed you and then take yo..."Alexandra possess a voice that oozes sex appeal, the sort of voice that'll bed you and then take your wallet as it walks out of your flat and nicks your neighbours milk on the way past. As an EP, it's worth buying to hear the high groove satire that she signs off the EP with, "Facebook" "
Fun, flirty and impressive... an act to keep your eye on!
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"Alexandra & the Sunflowers can proudly lay claim to delivering a sophisticated but accessible fusio..."Alexandra & the Sunflowers can proudly lay claim to delivering a sophisticated but accessible fusion of Latin, jazz, soul, reggae and pop influences. All are evident on their current EP, Let’s Go. The title track sets things rolling in fine fashion, featuring some funky percussion, Latin influenced guitar, a jazzy but breezy vibe and the disarming vocals of Alexandra – who really should win your heart. It’s an ambitious blend, but a deeply satisfying one – the sense of fun they obviously had in recording it, translating well to the listener. The Latin vibe is maintained on Balcony of Wonder, which drops the kind of sultry sax interludes and slinky beats that give off the aura of a cool breeze on a hot day. Lola, on the other hand, drops some fantastic, Cuban-style percussion (complete with maracas) and a playful vocal to match the teasing lyrics, and some subtle Spanish guitar licks. The remainder of the EP is similarly fun, flirty and impressive... an act to keep your eye on!"
A band that I will be following with great expectations...
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"These days it’s difficult to find something that isn’t completely synthesised on a computer, or rec..."These days it’s difficult to find something that isn’t completely synthesised on a computer, or recycled pop tunes. Due to this when I came across ‘Alexandra Legouix and the Sunflowers’, I found myself pleasantly surprised. This week I have found myself listening to music like Bob Marley and Otis Redding and was wandering where I could find something similar. Then as if in answer to my thoughts I found this group in the depths of my inbox... ... I believe that those with a more open mind will find this a pleasant change in direction from the mainstream music we currently have to listen to...this is a group that have found a style that suits themselves perfectly, and this will always be better than those who simply try to follow trends... if this is any indication the music scene in 2011 will be taking an interesting turn. A turn that I am greatly looking forward to. This is yet another band that I have come across that I will be following with great expectations... "
Time To Go (Berlin Babylon)
Balcony Of Wonder
This Is Not Real
Smile Smile Smile
The Demon Voice
The French One
Johnny Sailor Boy
What's The Fun?
|May 26, 2013 Sunday||3:00 PM||VegFest||Bristol, GB|