Nous Non Plus

Freudian Slip

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Regardless of whatever one thinks of Nous Non Plus being a real French band or not due to the members being from all over the place and some decidedly tongue-in-cheek pseudonyms -- then again, are all the bands from non-Anglophonic countries singing in English fake? -- the group's third album, Freudian Slip, is definitely out to be at once a retro treat and something that's sonically of this century, if only because the production sounds so immediately crisp and punchy as opposed to being a remaster of a sound from 30 or 50 years ago. If anything, the initial role model for Nous Non Plus this time around seems to be the Smiths, with the opening "J'en Ai Marre [Had Enough]" sounding like it should be from around that band's debut album, aside from Celine Dijon's lead vocals. But the tenser minimal groove of "Pas la Peine [(Oh No) Not Again]" is a little too keyboard-heavy for that group and by the time of "Acte Manqué [Freudian Slip]" it's full-on synth pop/dance-rock/disco, in a much lighter vein than some of the more recent monsters to have come from France itself but nonetheless suggesting the dancefloor to the full. From there it's a hop and skip through eight songs on this short, enjoyable release, seemingly best designed for summer listening despite first appearing in fall. If the whole thing is a clearly derivative exercise, it's still an engaging one, wrapping up with the easy boulevardier swing of "Ne Dis Pas [Indian Summer]." Then there's "All I Want Is You" -- not a Roxy Music cover, but that would be a good idea in French -- playing up the whole scenario by being an English-language duet that might as well be about a guy meeting a French lady at some peppy dance party somewhere.

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