Le Concorde

Le Concorde

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Sometimes you can tell what's in someone's record collection by listening to his music, and that is certainly the case with Stephen Becker, aka Le Concorde. Becker publicly acknowledges his Anglophile devotion to late '70s/early '80s British acts like Prefab Sprout, Aztec Camera, Stephen Duffy, and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, with their lush, melodic pop style and affection for synthesizers. To that list you can add ABC, the Dream Academy, and, in a slightly rockier mode, the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Psychedelic Furs. In fact, Becker enlists guitarist John Ashton and saxophone player Mars Williams from the Psychedelic Furs for "The Sound of Your Name." As a singer, Becker recalls the light, airy sound of the Dream Academy's Nick Laird-Clowes, and Paul Heaton of the Beautiful South, his heavily processed and harmonized voice just the lead instrument in the chamber pop arrangements. This is very pretty music; indeed, its surface attractiveness is the biggest thing it has going for it. For anyone who knows and loves the many antecedents already cited, it may have a strong nostalgic appeal, since that particular era of British pop, which never enjoyed much success stateside, seemed so remote 20-plus years later. On the other hand, there is an oddly retro feel to Le Concorde; this sounds more like a record made in the early '80s than one released in 2004. Those who never experienced the sound the first time around might be better advised to dig up an old Dream Academy album first.

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