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 articles index

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The Emperor (Nascente/Triton)

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The Emperor (Nascente/Triton)

For many people the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from Pakistan (who died in 1997) was and remains the greatest ever qawwali singer. He certainly reached Western audiences in a way that few had ever... > Read more

Kristi Stassinopoulou and Stathis Kalyviotis: Greekadelia (Riverboat/Southbound)

Kristi Stassinopoulou and Stathis Kalyviotis: Greekadelia (Riverboat/Southbound)

Adding the suffix -adelic to a style (folkadelic) or album title as in this case, isn't always quite as helpful or true as it seems.  This well-established traditional-into-today duo... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Harry Manx, The Tuning Fork, Auckland, October 3 2014

Harry Manx, The Tuning Fork, Auckland, October 3 2014

About now Real Groovy – the secondhand and new music store on Queen St in Auckland – is celebrating its 331/3 anniversary.... > Read more

EPs by Yasmin Brown

EPs by Yasmin Brown

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Yasmin Brown. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in... > Read more