French Act Nouvelle Vague, led by Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux plus collaborations with various singers such as Melanie Pain, Camille Dalmais, Marina Celeste, Phoebe Killdeers, Gerald Toto and Daniela D’Ambrosio, has finally released its third album three years since its sophomore album, Bande a Part came out in 2006.
Since the band’s release of their self-titled debut album last 2004 it has become unstoppable in making enchanting Bossa Nova covers of 70’s and 80’s New Wave or in French, Nouvelle Vague.
The band’s new album, Nouvelle Vague 3, was released on June 2009. The album includes sixteen songs, three of which are bonus tracks, with new singers like Leelou, Sophia Delila and Nadeah Miranda. It also includes duets with other New Wave artists such as Terry Hall (The Specials), Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen), Barry Adamson and Martin Gore (Depeche Mode).
The new album cover art features the same concept as with the cover arts of previous albums.
However, in contrast to the pop art colored tone set by their previous albums’ covers, the new album cover is reminiscent of a vintage Cartes Postale with a sepia hue. The album design was directed by Dylan Kendle and Tomato.
Shifting away from their usual Bossa Nova covers, the band ventures into a new direction with their new album as they produce covers in different genres like country and bluegrass. These can be heard in their covers of Talking Head’s “Road to Nowhere” and The Go-Go’s’ “Our Lips are Sealed”.
Also, contrary to their previous songs released, “Blister in the Sun” originally by Violent Femmes, has a light mood with city sounds mixed in the track. The song gives the listeners exactly the feeling of going around the city.
The covers in the new album may not be as good as ones in their previous ones but they are still worth listening to. “Ca Plane Pour Moi” is one of the tracks that are distinct from their previous covers since it does not hold the usual Bossa tempo; rather it has an energetic ska beat which the band managed to retain out of the original version. The band’s rendition of the song makes it irresistible and less boring despite repeated airplays.
The best cover song in this album, however, is their version of The Police’s “So Lonely”. What makes this cover song special is that it embodies the trademark of the band in making good yet slightly twisted covers. From its original upbeat ska-punk form, Nouvelle Vague was able to turn the beat into a dreamy ballad that could most likely tear one up.
Fans of their previous albums would definitely get a new taste of the band’s fresh beats and creativity as it heads toward this new course. Long-time listeners of the band may find the album exciting for the early part and get the hang of it after a while.
With their album Nouvelle Vague 3, Nouvelle Vague certainly never fails to bring refreshing bursts of music as it continues to remake beloved songs from the past and repackage them like presents. Truly, one can find sweeter renditions that won’t fail in making one fall in love with the same songs over again.
note: this review has been originally published in the August 2009 issue of The Spectrum…and they are looking for a new website admin!
album photo from the band’s official Facebook page