10 December 2007
By Charles Graham
A Wigan band has launched a cheeky new take on one of the most iconic
and controversial pop hits of the 1960s.
Audiences wouldn't be too shocked by Serge Gainsbourg's sultry
anthem, Je t'aime, in these more liberal times – which is where the
Maladies of Bellafontaine come in.
Almost 40 years later the septet have created an even sexier new
version of the French classic for the 21st century and already tried
it out at their gigs.
Vocalist Rachael Pascoe said: "Our cover of Je t'aime is a bit
raunchy. It starts off straightforward, but, at the end, we add some
random samples of sex noises ... which sound VERY rude.
"We played it at a gig last month – most people seemed to like it.
Well, apart from this one French person who was really offended when
he heard it. He was totally outraged!"
The Maladies of Bellafontaine, centred around Rachael and boyfriend
Gareth Crawford, have already established quite a saucy reputation.
They also claim to live in a former monastery on the outskirts of
Wigan where they claim to live like hippies, extolling the virtues of
Musically there is clearly a Gallic tinge to their work. Rachael
said: "It is very romantic music. I'm influenced by people like Edith
Piaf, Bardot and G
ainsbourg. Very arty, sophisticated people who sang about love in a
very open way."
The Maladies of Bellafontaine – named after the ship from the Wes
Anderson film The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou – began two years
ago when Rachael moved from Wales to Wigan to be with Gareth.
They started writing songs together, but dismissed the idea of being
an acoustic duo because that would have been, says Gareth, "too
cheesy - people hate watching that sort of stuff."
Instead, they decided to adopt the former monastery as their home and
invited some of Wigan's musical misfits to join their oddball pop collective.
He added: "Wigan is such a weird place to play. There's lot of lad
bands who just want to sound like Oasis. Then you've got us, a weird
bunch of hippy folk kids. All your beer-swilling Wigan lads seem to like us.
"By the end of the gig they're jumping on stage doing a tea dance!"