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Music Review: Nouvelle Vague – 3 (Limited Edition)

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It should be disconcerting to hear the words from the Sex Pistols’ "God Save The Queen" sung in French chanson style but it isn’t. Ditto for The Violent Femmes’ "Blister In The Sun", which sounds like a backyard summer party in full swing. The tracks are from the aptly named 3, the third album from French music collective Nouvelle Vague (headed by Marc Collins and Olivier Libaux).

The collective performs covers of ‘60s songs from the punk and new wave genres. Previous albums have reinterpreted these songs in a bossa nova genre but 3 mixes it up a bit with lounge, jazz, chanson, and bossa nova. The first few tracks even have a little country twang in them, particularly Depeche Mode’s "Master And Servant" which makes the song and subject feel more dark and disconcerting, but no less enjoyable.

Barry Adamson (Magazine), Ian McCulloch (Echo & The Bunnymen), and Martin Gore (Depeche Mode) have contributed to the album on tracks "Parade", "All My Colours", and "Master And Servant". "Not Knowing" goes back into the bossa nova territory with Samy Birnbach (Minimal Compact). The female singers are Melanie Pain, Sandra Dee, Sophie Delila, Eloisia, Karina Zeviani, Nadeah Miranda, Marina Celeste, and Silja — all part of the revival of French chanson.

Listening to this album makes you feel as if you are inside a Blake Edwards film in the ‘60s. Do you have your Mary Quant miniskirt and space age boots or your beatnik gear on?

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