Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2010 (Cartell)

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Lilicub: La Belle Vie
Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2010 (Cartell)

Another year, another compilation to accompany the Alliance Francaise Film Festival -- and a chance for an overview of chic music out of France.

Big names here are Charlotte Gainsbourg with the electro-title track of her new IRM album, Nouvelle Vague (a previously unreleased version of Fad Gadget's Under the Flag), Rachid Taha (in rather restrained fashion) and Vanessa Paradis.

There is always a cool and sophisticated vibe on these collections (this is a 34 track double) so the most interesting material is that which rises above the wine bar soundtrack: here the brittle On by Java which rides a sample; the sexy alt.cabaret of Phoebe Killdeer's Looking for a Man; the odd New Wave pop of Lilicub's La Belle Vie and Charlotte etc's Label Societe; the post-Velvets sing-drone of Emmanuelle Seigner on Le Jour Parfait; and the strong voice of Sophie Hunger (rather squandered on the unworthy Round and Round). 

But mostly this is Frenchy and chic speak-sing whispery stuff over acoustic guitars, designed to seduce and charm like those understated domestic comedies they do so well on the big screen. 

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