Paris Combo


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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson

Paris Combo has the schtick, and it's served them well. Attraction carries on with what's not really a formula, but an attitude -- with a few subtle refinements, but the same elements that have brought them relative success. The title cut, happily bouncy, is a sophisticated summer afternoon by the Seine, while "Dans les Bras d'un Loup" is as seductive as midnight champagne in a Left Bank cabaret (and using the cello as a solo instrument is inspired, with its nighttime texture). As always, singer Belle du Berry offers a purr that's halfway between little girl and vampish Eartha Kitt and a series of songs that show she's a writer of genuine talent, with a sense of the surreal -- as on the blues-tinged "Pourquoi les Vaches," which translates to "Why the Cows." There's a lilting melodicism to the band's work, with David Lewis playing a starring role, both on piano and trumpet -- his minimal trumpet solo on "Dans les Bras d'un Loup" is a joy (as is Potzi's guitar work, offering an echo of Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France). But they can also play it straight and be quite affecting, as on "Berceuse Insomniaque," where Berry presents her lyrics simply and straightforwardly. While there's nothing particularly modern about Paris Combo's sound, it doesn't deliberately try to be retro, either -- it simply takes elements from across the decades, grabbing at chanson, jazz, show tunes, some of the more esoteric elements of rock, and avant-garde, and mixes them into a whole that's fresh while retaining an almost atavistic familiarity. From the playful ("Avril") to the sublime (the complex but never overwhelming "Retroviseur," which is a virtually a tour of cool European jazz styles), Paris Combo has the chops, the wit, and the charm to do it all with the kind of style that can never be taught. Attraction might be more of the same, but it's a same that never seems to get old or boring. Especially not when it's done this well.

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