So Frenchy So Chic
The SFSC compilation series is back for its ninth annual exploration of contemporary French music. The 2013 edition is again a double CD packed with both familiar and lesser known artists, and a cohesive yet wide mix of styles from chanson to pop and new wave to jazz. Some favourites: Lescop with La Forêt, a smooth electro track that sits between the opposing styles of cold wave and soul; and also M’s Mojo, nutso space-rockabilly with a touch of ELO. There’s more delights from Éléphant with Rien’s odd, playful jazz; La Grande Sophie’s new wave funk; and Rover’s Aqualast, which is a little bit Blur and little bit Magical Mystery Tour. Also great is France’s It Girl and ex-Nouvelle Vague singer Melanie Pain, who gives some seriously grand orchestral ye-ye on 7 ou 8 Fois, but she’s just edged out of best track by the always excellent Barbara Carlotti with Dimanche D’Automme, which sounds like Stereolab taking on a 1940s Christmas fantasy, or something… Anyway, it’s gorgeous. Mai Lan’s Easy belongs in a TV commercial (not a criticism), but I was surprised by Françoiz Breut’s uncharacteristically pedestrian La Cirurgie Des Sentiments, and sadly less surprised by Emilie Simon’s dusty Tori Amos-ish music hall jazz, which, although nice, might be starting to get a little predictable. Also less innovative is Carmen Maria Vega’s cutesy jazz track Miaou and Lou Doillon’s ICU. But the fun starts again with Talisco’s ‘80s new wave-heavy Your Wish and the superb soul-meets-soft-pop of Hope You’re Better by Applause and Pauline Croze’s breezy folk pop and all-’round dreamy Quelle-heure est-il?, which both leave me wanting more. Cabaret stars Paris Combo make the most of secret-agent style jazz in Lux and American ex-pat Maïa Vidal rounds out this year’s collection with the Amy Winehouse-esque Follow Me.
ON theMusic TODAY
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