Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2011 (Border)

 |   |  1 min read

Disiz Peter Punk: Dans le ventre du crocodile
Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2011 (Border)

These annual double CD compilations of recent music from France -- from pop to, yes, chic, but not alt.rock etc -- are the unofficial soundtrack to the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival (details here) but afford us the opportunity of hearing a swag of music from a country with a reputation of making the most awful pop. At least that's what the British would tell you.

Of course it has never been quite that simple -- incidentally off on the periphery in the rock world have been terrific bands like Zebda, the Belgian singer Arno, hip-hop acts like rapper MC Solaar who you can't possibly understand unless you know idiomatic French -- and these collections always throw up interesting stuff.

Among the familiar names in Elsewhere-world are Melanie Pain, Keren Ann, Syd Matters, Nouvelle Vague, Yael Naim and so on -- but it's always the others: Madjo do a neat line in light techno-pop on Another Day (not the McCartney song); you'll spot who Fefe is ripping off/referencing on the pretty cool Dans ma rue; Zaz takes you back to the boulevards of the Forties; Anis bring in the North African tub-thump beats for Rodeo Blvd; and Asa get all sexy-chic in English on Be My Man.

In fact, as always, there's a fair bit of English here: Lilly Wood and the Prick would sit neatly on your playlist alongside Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Rumer and others, The Rodeo kick in with alt.rock with On the Radio (imagine a female Stan Ridgway) . . .

Not a lot of the North African-influenced French pop/rock here and band names (eg The Narcoleptic Dancers) aren't remotely helpful (they are light pop, could be on the NZ label Lil' Chief).

But, as always, wee nuggets here and there among the background chic-cool sounds.

This series doesn't stray too far from its narrow brief and you suspect it might attract more attention now if it got much more risky. Or as they en France, risque. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music from Elsewhere articles index

WOMAD TARANAKI PHOTO ESSAY (2018): The world of music, arts and images

WOMAD TARANAKI PHOTO ESSAY (2018): The world of music, arts and images

Because a Womad festival is about different people, faces, costumes and art from around the world, it is a colourful event and lends itself to a simple photo essay to give the flavour of the three... > Read more

Various: Masters of Indian Classical Music Vol II (Arc)

Various: Masters of Indian Classical Music Vol II (Arc)

With the recent appearance of Ravi Shankar (with his daughter Anoushka) at the arts festival in Wellington, there may be some interest in an album such as this: a well annotated double disc which... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JEFF HEALEY INTERVIEWED (1989): Keeping the future open

JEFF HEALEY INTERVIEWED (1989): Keeping the future open

Sitting in his Sydney hotel room, Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey talks lovingly about his collection of 11,000 78rpm records (“I bought another 30 or 40 today in a shop near here.”)... > Read more

K.T. Tunstall: Tiger Suit (Virgin)

K.T. Tunstall: Tiger Suit (Virgin)

Word is that a campervan trip around New Zealand in 09 and appearing at Neil Finn's 7 Worlds Collide reinvigorated Scottish singer Tunstall who leaped to fame overnight when a Jools Holland show... > Read more