Monday, August 28, 2006

Bande À Parte

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Nouvelle Vague's self titled debut dropped back in 2004 ('05 in the US). A side project of French electronica guy Marc Collin (Volga Select, Les Petroleuses, Ollano) and his pal Olivier Libaux, the duo took classic songs of the New Wave era (Love Will Tear Us Apart, This Is Not A Love Song, Making Plans For Nigel), turned them into smoky bossa nova tracks, and called in various chanteuses to croon seductively over it all. Even the name of the band translates as "new wave". As a novelty it knocked my socks off - I am a huge fan of the songs of the era and I really like bossa nova too, so for me it was a perfect concept. It was also quite a success, which led to the duo recording a follow up, Bande À Parte, which hit US shelves last week. Basically it's the same concept, new batch of songs. Since we've heard the concept, the novelty factor has worn off. Ultimately it means that overall I'm not as impressed this time around, although I do like the record. There are some amusing choices - Billy Idol's Dancing With Myself, a couple of New Order songs (Confusion & Blue Monday), the Cramps' Human Fly and U2's Pride (In The Name Of Love) are among them. I was very excited to see Visage's Fade To Grey listed, but the version is only so-so. Today's tunes are, IMO, two of the better tracks on the record. First up is a fantastic version of Heaven 17's masterpiece Let Me Go. The original song is just so good that it would be hard to screw it up, and they don't - it translates well into a smoky jazz club setting. Also very enjoyable is the old Smiths tune Sweet And Tender Hooligan - it's tender melody also makes a smooth transition into the bossa nova realm. So, even though we've heard it before it still makes for a pretty entertaining listen.

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