Almost immediately, you’ll be overtaken by an overwhelming vibe the moment you spin Don Cavalli’s second long-player, Temperamental for the first time. The French songwriter has largely disappeared from the musical landscape for the past half-decade, fermenting his knowledge and love of 60’s soul and psychedelia to the point where it has come out in an arresting blend of retro gumbo that has the ability to change your current state of mind.
That “vibe” I speak of is infectious, and Cavalli’s laid-back performance is a nearly perfect. Temperamental’s primary appeal is how it subtly it can get under your skin, breaking your concentration only when you’re faced with other people asking you, “Who is this?”
From Temperamental, I can only assume that Don Cavalli is what you would expect if Johnny Rivers took a ton of acid, drove a pink Cadillac to the Mississippi delta and became immersed in its history. The end result is a weird blend of those two worlds under the glow of a lysergic moon. And while that tape hiss is also a product of the record’s economy, it’s also the necessary mist that’s needed to date this record, even when it comes with a digital download option (more on that later).
If you enjoyed Mac Rebennack’s return to his “Night Tripper” persona for Locked Down, then you will find this next door neighbor nearly as rewarding. Temperamental adheres to a religious regiment of period instruments; you can hear the warmth of those tube amps and feel the magnetic tape stretch of the Mellotron when it clearly would have been easier to bring up a digital image for either one. All of this combines to form a record that smells like a musty garage sale discovery while sounding so good that you’d want to share it with the rest of us tomorrow.
Temperamental is a record inspired by passion, that much is obvious, but what makes it so special is how Cavalli attempts to channel the same passion that inspired him into the carefully tailored gems that fill its short 35-minutes. Speaking of, this is a record that’s perfectly suited for its vinyl version, so make the additional investment if you’re able.
If all of this makes Don Cavalli occasionally seem like he’s a man that wasn’t made for these times, Temperamental effectively demonstrates that we’re certainly very lucky to have him around right now.