Les Rita Mitsouko

Rita Mitsouko

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Rita Mitsouko's self-titled debut album proved to be significant for the French rock scene as it charted new territories and pointed at a new direction. By doing so, the French duo reveal a world of possibilities outside the prevailing American and British models. Catherine Ringer and Fred Chichin had been working since the inception of the group on some of material presented here, which explains why this first record, released in 1984, sounds so accomplished. They play all the instruments and resort to overdubs to create a rich musical landscape largely dominated by drum machines and keyboards. This seemingly cold and automated background provides a sharp contrast to Ringer's expressive and powerful voice. She can suggest a wide range of emotions ranging from contained anger to sarcasm to tenderness. She also keeps changing her delivery and gives the impression that she sings with a foreign accent. If songs like the pop-tinged "Restez Avec Moi," the disco hit "Marcia Baïla," or the raucous "Jalousie" stand out, there is no real down moment throughout this unique and exotic collection of songs proving that Ringer and Chichin have a knack for efficient riffs and memorable melodies. An engaging kickoff to a career that would prove to be longstanding and successful.

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