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4.3 out of 5 stars
Nouvelle Vague
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2005
Its not often that the postman waking you from your slumber is greeted with a much joy, but this morning was a little different as he brought with him my copy of Nouvelle Vague from Amazon. The drive through the wind and rain to work was considerably more pleasureable as a result.
You'll love this if you a) like this style of music or b) love these songs and like to here them reworked and reborn. I fall into both camps and as a result I am deligted by what is on offer here.
What strikes you most is how well the songs themselves stand up to such a bear, low-key interpretation. An undoubted testament to the original artists and their songs.
I have only given it 4 stars because, if there is a criticism, it is that the arrangement and sound of each song is a little to similar and perhaps some variation on instrumentation would be welcomed. That said, each song is wonderfully put together and the vocals are sublime.
This album is one of the eternal joys of music. Its all too easy to follow the same route to new music Artist A has a new album, buy new album. The real treats are the ones that come out of nowhere and surprise you. This is such a treat and worthy of a listen.
Hopefully they'll do a follow-up, maybe something a little newer, Big Mouth Strikes Again would be a great choice!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The idea of post-punk classics performed in a bossa nova/lounge style sounds as though it may have been conceived purely as a joke and if you're familiar with some of the original tracks then the extent of the transformation achieved by the versions on this album may raise a wry smile on occassion. But for the most part the music here transcends that kind of ironic detachment to achieve something altogether more deeply affecting.
Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" has been covered many times before but has never been suffused with such longing, like lying on a beautiful tropical beach as the sun goes down contemplating a love left behind on the other side of the world. The version of Public Image Limited's "This Is Not Love Song" exchanges the mocking snarl of John Lydon's delivery for that of a sassy French diva singing in a voguish underground club, simultaneously sounding both breathlessly seductive and coldly detached. And the Cure's "A Forest" is transported from the depths of the cold, dank darkness of the original to a tropical rainforest repleat with the chirruping of nameless insects and the squawking of exotic birds, something sinister lurking in the undergrowth as the percussion builds to a tense climax.
A couple of the tracks don't quite reach the generally high standard of the rest of this collection but the two tracks that represent the album's pinnacle more than make up for this. Both "In A Manner Of Speaking" and "Making Plan's For Nigel" are nothing short of beautiful, filled with a poignancy and sadness that instantly makes you want to hear them again as soon as their last note dies away.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2005
Turning on Glastonbury, horrified to hear a band were going to cover Joy Divisions 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' - some things, surely, are sacred...
However, this works, as do the covers of The Cures 'A Forest' and, most bizare of all, PIL's 'This Is Not A Love Song'. The ideal summer album for relaxing to, not really a sit down and listen to it album, but a perfect, unobtrusive, chilled and luscious soundscape, ideal for pimms and hand rolled cigarettes. Languish! The only blip is the rather crass 'Too Drunk...' which disolves into a screech, shattering the otherwise otherworldly bliss. Try it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2007
Round up some female vocalists, some post-punk songs from the late seventies, then record these songs in a Bossa Nova style, and then call the resulting set of cover versions Nouvelle Vague. Bossa Nova meaning Nouvelle Vague meaning New Wave. Clever, huh? But, ultimately, a meaningless exercise in kitsch and `irony'? Well, not quite, as Nouvelle Vague actually delivers the strangest and moodiest set of sounds since Beth Gibbon's last venture into the public domain. So why do the cover versions on this album sound so strange and otherworldly when they could have sounded so feeble and bland? It's the cracked `torch' singing style employed by the various women on this album, it's also the sneaky musical subversion, whereby boss-nova is turned into something darker than it's meant to be, and it's the clever use of instrumentation by the two Frenchmen behind this project. So The Undertones' Teenage Kicks, XTC's Making Plans for Nigel and Killing Joke's Psyche, for example, sound like songs from a musical world where the past was female, rather than one that was mainly boring and blokey. Maybe it's the creation of this alternative reality that makes Nouvelle Vague one of the creepiest listening experiences I've had for some time. New Wave? Tidal wave more like, as this album is going to wash away all prejudices and preconceptions about cover versions, Bossa Nova and the merits of post-punk.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I'm a big fan of Brazilian music, at least the sort that they export anyway. Celso Fonsecca, Bebel Gilberto, Cibelle and those classic Jobim recordings of the 60s, they all float my boat. I have to admit that i am only familiar with half of the original recordings on this CD, but it really works for me. I imagine that if you were a fan of the British New Wave, rather than the Brazilian New Wave (Bossa Nova) then this record might only hold novelty value for you, but the songs as they exist here stand up in their own right. By turn they are fun, sexy, cool and a little bit nutty. Yes, I AM a fan of "smoky french female singers" and yes i DO like an "unremitting bossa nova beat", if you do too I'm sure you'll quickly become a fan of this little beauty.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2004
This took a few listens before i really fell in love with it. I appreciated it at first. I recognised some of the songs, but after a few times listening to it through, the songs do become their own. you stop hearing the original in your head, and apprciate it for what it is, and meant to be. Some Beautiful girls, singing good songs.
i heard they weren't aloud to listen to the originals before recording the songs. it could be a rumour....
My 2 favourite songs on the album have to be
"This is not a love song", its so sexy and smooth, and really catchy (in a good way)
and
"Too Drunk too F""K" This one cracks me up. She sounds so innocent, and drunk! You can really imagine her stood in a parisien bar with a martini in her hand. I saw them perform live. And this song ROCKED. They performed it just as i'd imagined it! woo hoo
You need to be open minded enough to apprciate the songs for what they are, and not as cover songs defiled by a different genre. If you can do this....and enjoy the kinda parisien, lounge sound. (I didnt before getting this album)
Then you should love it.
I was introduced to N.V by a proper old skool punk who Loves this album.(maybe he's ageing!) Being just a sprog, i dont remember a lot of the songs in their orginal format, but one or 2 that i have heard, i prefer better than the original. In my humble opinion. The guns of Brixton is beter than the original!
hope this helps. Spread the word of Nouvelle Vague!
xx
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2004
Chilling out on a Summer Evening at the Lemon Jelly Concert at Somerset House, we heard these marvellous cover versions and couldn't believe our ears! Beautiful female vocals transform these songs and make them perfect for easy listening on a summer day!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2004
I bought this album due in main out of curiosity. Picking up the album and reading the glittering reviews stuck on the front in combination with my familiarity with the originals meant i just had to try this album.
I like some of these versions. A particular favourite is 'Marian'. But, I am finding it more difficult to listen to some of the others. The problem being that because the guest singers sing in a uniformly dreary, uninterested and unmeaningful way, the original version in your head shouts out the new version. 'Marian' works because it keeps the original stridency of the song, but makes it sound different and interesting and gives it a genuine, dreamy warmth.
I think with most of the others you are just inspired to seek out the originals and listen to them again. I really wanted to like this album because outwardly it looked like some old songs i love had been given a new lease of life by people who love the songs as i do(probably true!), but instead feel that the album's only real concept was to get an awkward angular pop song from the post punk period and then bring in a 'smoky french woman' who will just sing the words like she only was taught how to say the words in the studio and put a bit of latin sounds in the background. Sometimes the dark words of the songs sit quite awkwardly with the bossa nova. I feel on those moments i can feel the point of the album. Sadly, those moments don't quite come often enough.
I may suggest this album to people who are unfamiliar with songs from the post punk period and who like smoky french female singers and an unremitting bossa nova beat to there music.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2005
my favorite song ever recorded is love will tear us apart by joy division, and this band have a recorded such a beautiful soulful version that is as much of an acheievment that i didnt punch the tv when they performed on glastonbury earlier today as that it got my best friend and i close to tears. buy this album, but please also buy the original-off sunstance or permanent i believe, as ian deserves to be remembered.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2006
I first heard Nouvelle Vague on the TV adverts for T-Mobile and HAD to find out who they were - I was wild with excitement when I found out they even had an album out! Although disappointed with Love Will Tear Us Apart and Just Can't Get Enough, I think the tracks improve as the album goes on. In A Manner of Speaking and I Melt are my favourites.
On the whole the songs avoid the trap of being trite party pieces, and actually do breathe new life into classic songs I grew up with. I agree with the reviewer who asked for a Smiths song. I wonder if they do requests...?
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