We Are Enfant Terrible - Explicit Pictures
Don’t be misled by the overly cocksure blub which goes to some lengths to spray in neon the French trio’s ‘wacky’ provenance. Their various influences (kittens, it says here) and outlandish choice of instruments (Nintendo Gameboy) could well be nothing more than a hastily applied topcoat of ‘Weird Pink’ but like I could care less. This rickety debut shows off its lo-fi origins so gleefully but behind the silly smile lurks a barrel full o’ tunes: Explicit Pictures is rammed with the darn things. Think Crystal Castles but with a St Etienne shimmer filing down some of (okay, most of) the spikes. Thomas, Cyrill (nice one) and Clo spin up a devilish barrage of beats that variously tickle and pummel but it remains, to their credit, all about the music. They can arse about flapping their box-of-frogs credentials till the cows come home but it takes me a single play to locate the detail (bass-heavy sound, Robert Smith guitar, irresistible synth washes, a gradual increase in my driving speed) and another couple to really home in (hooks as catchy as they are subtle, some good ‘n’ proper variation between floor burners and mood pieces, Clo’s singing voice - think Ladyhawke with a sliver of Gauloises tragedy). The opening ‘Make You Laugh’ might leave you short of breath but the closing ‘So Fine’ swaps energy for elegy and we soar away on the clouds. As always with the French, ennui is never far away - beneath the melodies I sense maladies.