Various Artists

Le Pop 7

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Though this is the seventh compilation in the Le Pop Musik label's series celebrating new French performers of the 21st century, the more important number is ten, since this is a tenth anniversary celebration by the label as well. With no single through-line beyond singing in French and a variety of appreciations for pop impulses of earlier times -- generally speaking between the 1960s and the 1980s -- it's an often engaging collection. As good a representative track as any is Françoiz Breut's "Michka Soka," which busts out a very 1985-era Cure/New Order guitar and bass break and sound while adding in fingersnaps for good measure. Brigitte's "Bailez-Vous" starts things off with a stark guitar-jazz-pop shimmy, very 1960s-looking but not quite any one thing -- the song's crisp echoes are its own beast. L's "Jalouse" is similarly inclined, maybe a little more lush and swoony and elegant, while Mathieu Boogaerts' contribution is a piano-led organ beat rumination. Thierry Stremler's effort is a bit of coffeehouse folk trip-hop, but it's all easygoing enough and with a nice chorus, but Barbara Carlotti's "Quatorze Ans" is something else again, twangy driving new wave sass with a great echoed chorus and keyboard part. Fredda's "Pas de Jour" has some nice harmonizing. Lescop's "La Forêt" is all crisp rhythm clicks and punch, so again a bit of new wave suaveness, but in a cool, sharp way, with a nice twist and a great guitar break or two. Liza Manili has a nicely clean rocked-up effort, possessing a focus that's definitely a hallmark of the performances, while Salome Leclerc's "Partir Ensemble" has a nice acoustic drive and kick, something that almost feels very 1990s in turn, in an indie pop fashion.

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