Various Artists

Wizzz!: Psychorama Francais 1966-1971

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Love the French or hate 'em, it's virtually impossible to deny the appeal of vintage French pop -- ya-ya this and go-go that, the best stuff's a mind-bending fusion of sunshine pop, psychedelic soul, and sleazy cabaret, a Eurotrash celebration of sex and drugs presumably fueled by same. Wizzz: Psychorama Francais 1966-1971 is a fantastic retrospective that captures the sheer excess of its era, musical and otherwise -- the songs stagger across the tightrope separating Now Sound grooves and blaxploitation funk, complete with fuzz-soaked guitars, deep bass, squawking horns, and thick, swirling organs. Charlotte Leslie's opening "Les Filles C'Est Fait" (roughly translated, "Girls Are Made to Make Love") perfectly sets the musical and lyrical tenor for what follows, with a soulful swagger strangely reminiscent of Dobie Gray's Northern Soul classic "The In Crowd"; other highlights include Philippe Nicaud's "Cuisses Nues, Bottes De Cuir," Christie Laume's "Rouge Rouge," Stephane Varegues' "Le Pape du Pop," and Danyel Gerard's "Sexologie."