Femmes Fatales

There’s a saying that goes: “if you can feed three mouths, you can also feed four”. But that goes both ways. After it became clear that Amanda Somerville would no longer be part of EXIT EDEN, the other three women, Clémentine Delauney, Anna Brunner and Marina La Torraca, decided not to look for a replacement, but to carry on as a trio. But is this going to put a crimp in EXIT EDEN?

When you listen to their new album Femmes Fatales, the follow up to their debut album Rhapsodies In Black (2017), you can answer this question shamelessly with “no”. Clémi, Anna and Marina take off with natural dynamism on the first track Femme Fatale. Whilst the band start highfaluting, the girls are grinding their vocal chords. And that guitar solo is not bad either at 3:09. But what about the French spoken part at the end, isn’t that incredibly sexy?

Next up is the Pet Shop Boys cover It’s A Sin. It must be said that covers are really a strong point of EXIT EDEN. The debut album was filled with it, including a breathtaking version of Adele‘s Bond theme Skyfallfeaturing Simone Simons. With vocal harmonies and the band’s driving force they always seem to make something new out of the original. On Femmes Fatales you get no less than six covers (that’s 50% of all tracks). Besides It’s A Sin there’s Journey‘s Separate Ways, Desanchantée originally by Mylène Farmer, Alice Cooper‘s Poison, Alone by Heart and Marillion‘s Kayleigh. I don’t know how they select them, but they sure have a keen eye for classics.

However, even for EXIT EDEN applies that some originals should be left alone. Regardless the good intentions, Separate Ways, Poison” and Kayleigh will never be matched by anyone else than the original artist. Now, Alone is a different kind of gig. Even though no one can ever get close to Ann Wilson‘s incredible vocals on the original, it is heartbreaking to see her struggle with her voice at one of Heart‘s reunion concerts. Therefore, EXIT EDEN‘s cover might be just as good as Heart‘s original today.

Besides the covers, there’s also a bunch of very good originals on Femmes Fatales. With songs like Femme Fatale, Dying In My Dreams and the majestic closer Elysium the band has enough material to hang on to. Also, inviting some guest singers like they did with Marko Hietala on Run! is absolutely worth repeating. Three wonderful female vocalists with fantastic voices and an excellent band (the lead guitarist is extremely good) should be the ideal breeding ground to bake a third album with less covers (25%) and more originals (75%). But since we had to wait six and a half years for Femmes Fatales, will that ever happen?

Henk van Nieuwenhoven