Je Suis France

Fantastic Area

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Je Suis France could easily be slotted into the whole Elephant 6/neo-psych scene: they hail from Athens; their label, Orange Twin, is run by members of Elf Power; one of the band's members was in the Mendoza Line and another one was in Masters of the Hemisphere; and Fantastic Area was produced by Olivia Tremor Control/Sunshine Fix mainstay Bill Doss. The only problem is that they really don't sound much like they belong at all. What they really seem to belong to is the Eric's Trip fan club. There are times when it seems the wrong disc is in the player, that this is actually Love Tara. (More specifically, outtakes from Love Tara.) Perhaps it is because they both unashamedly worship at the noisy, guitar-strewn altar of Sonic Youth. Maybe it's the lo-fi, noisy yet poppy sound. Maybe it's the vocalists, who have only a passing acquaintance with pitch and melody. Whatever it may be, the fact remains that Je Suis France are not breaking any new (or interesting) ground on this album. Songs like the monochromatic "Hammock" and the piano ballad "Outdoor Industry" sound like tracks other bands have done better. The record is so derivative and hook-free, one wouldn't feel in the least guilty leaving this on the record-store shelf to gather dust. Judging by the photo collage of the band on the inside of the (very local-band-looking) booklet, the band is too drunk and wacky to really care whether anyone buys their lackluster album or not.

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