Nouvelle Vague, Bande à Part
Band members: Marc Collin (producer/instrumentals/music arrangements), Olivier Libaux (producer/instrumentals/music arrangements); Vocalists: Melanie Pain, Marina Celeste, Phoebe Killdeer, Gerald Toto.
Women soften the world, teaching men how to caress and finesse problems; that is, how to get their way sweetly, without yelling or swearing (too much). Two men created Nouvelle Vague, French for New Wave, which demonstrates an appreciation for the beauty and value women bring to the world. It is a surprisingly well-executed and soothing resurrection of post-punk (loud, angst-ridden), redefined and set to more mellow music, and soft, sultry solo – mostly female – singing.
Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux conceived the idea for this unlikely pairing, bringing it to fruition through their own music production, instrumental, and musical arrangement talents.
They further soften the post-punk music by setting many of the pieces acoustically. They chose songs based on anecdotes, and included some favorite groups from the first CD, in particular – Bauhaus. On Bande à Part, they used Jamaican, calypso from Trinidad via Cuban salsa, Haitian voodoo, Brazilian, and even a French traditional favorite (the accordion), to create a decidedly different feel from their first release.
The results are colorful orchestrations, with much percussion, acoustic guitar, sensual female voices, accordion and steel drums, among others. Melodically The Killing Moon mimics Echo and the Bunnymen’s version, but Nouvelle Vague performs with a more upbeat guitar, and the addition of a marimba (or is it a xylophone), rattlesnake tail, bird call, and accordion, which lends itself to a warmer, more relaxed and more tropical feel.
Missing from this CD are Avril and Camille. Camille was replaced on tour by Killdeer in 2005, and it seems fans (commenting about weaker vocals this time around) already miss Camille, who is quite popular in France and with Nouvelle Vague fans.
International guest vocalists grace us with their dreamy, light, sweeter versions of the era with everything from Billy Idol (Dancing With Myself) to Bauhaus’ Bela Lugosi’s Dead. The only track I take exception to is Heart of Glass. No one can trump Blondie at her own songs. It can be difficult to adjust from wanting to hear the standard version of the songs. So, it is recommended you listen blindly; don’t peek at the back of the CD to find out the roster of songs. Beware, the full lineup is listed next! It’s also more gratifying to try and guess the original artist and the name of the song.
Covers include (original artist in parenthesis): The Killing Moon (Echo and the Bunnymen), Ever Fallen in Love (Buzzcocks), Dance With Me (The Lords of the New Church), Don’t Go (Yazoo), Dancing With Myself (Billy Idol), Pride (U2), O Pamela (The Wake), Heart Of Glass (Blondie), Confusion (New Order), Human Fly (The Cramps), Bela Lugosi’s Dead (Bauhaus), Let Me Go (Heaven 17), and Fade to Grey (Visage).
Bande à Part, produced by The Perfect Kiss, was released June, 2006 in Europe by Peacefrog and PIAS. Luaka Bop released the album in the United States September, 2006.