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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Nouvelle Vague
Bande A` Part
Luaka Bop

Rating: 7/10 ?


September 22, 2006
Nouvelle Vague's first album, the eponymous full-length, was a shot in the dark. The band's Brazilian-infused/French pop style cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" alone was enough to make the album a must for '80s lovers and indie rockers. As if successful sophomore efforts weren't a challenge enough, concept-driven bands are usually hit or miss.

Bande A` Part is the second album from Nouvelle Vague and it deftly carries on in their non-conventional, cover band style. What saves the album from being rehashed creativity is the eclectic variation of 1980s new wave/rock tracks that they choose to cover, and the increasingly artistic ways they re-invent them in. Not only does the group use a bossa nova style but also other dance forms associated with temperate-climate cultures from around the world.

The frontrunner for the holy shit, it's THAT song?! title from this album is the group's guitar pick-clicking, accordion-chicky, reggae take on Blondie's "Heart of Glass." The version exhibits two of the band's finer sides - French pop roots and a love for reggae - and one of its pitfalls, erring while dancing the line of soft and boring.

The song re-writing team of Melanie Pain, Olivier Libaux, and Marc Collin made an excellent decision to use their previously unexpected formula of success, but also to modify it with new genre selections (Jamaican reggae, Cuban salsa, Americanized acoustic pop, and Haitian voodoo) and fresh players. The song choices this time around are a good mix of hits from mainstream bands and abstract tunes from cult favorites. The set list includes "The Killing Moon" by Echo & the Bunnymen, "Ever Fallen In Love?" by The Buzzcocks, "Dance With Me" by The Lords of The New Church, "Don't Go" by Yazoo, "Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol, "Pride (In the Name of Love)" by U2, "O Pamela" by The Wake, "Heart of Glass" by Blondie, "Confusion" by New Order, "Human Fly" by The Cramps, "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus, "Shack Up" by A Certain Ratio, "Let Me Go" by Heaven 17, and "Fade To Grey" by Visage. The special limited edition version has three bonus tracks - "Moody," "Sweet and Tender Hooligan," and "Blue Monday."

Unfortunately, Nouvelle Vague doesn't have the element of surprise wound up in its bag of tricks this time around. This definitely takes some, but not all, of the magic out of the equation. As far as execution and song selection go, Bande A` Part is just as good if not better than Nouvelle Vague, but the remake concept is too narrowly tailored to impress a greater indie crowd. Instead, a more intimate group of indie fans, world music lovers, and '80s new wave freaks will be amongst those in favor.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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