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New French Music: Rhesus

Aug 10

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Friday, August 10, 2007  RssIcon

French music fans talk about ‘la pop anglaise’, by which they mean the classic English indie sound of melodic Beatlesy songs. Amazingly, some French people of our acquaintance use this as a pejorative term for what they see as the frivolous frothiness of the pop we know and love – for example: “Peter Bjorn and John? Oui, pas mal… mais ce n’est que la pop anglaise!” But then, for a lot of the French rock/pop audience a song’s melody is much less important than its words. Some Irish singer-songers would approve, we feel.


Just our type: RhesusRhesus are a three-piece from Grenoble in the east of France, and they make music which is pop anglaise all the way down to its English lyrics. In 2004, on the back of their early EPs, French music weekly Les Inrockuptibles named them as winners of their annual CQFD (Ceux Qu’il Faut Decouvrir, or Those You Must Discover) prize for most promising new act. They made good on this expectation with their 2005 debut ‘Sad Disco’, a fine collection of melodic indie-pop.


Their second album, ‘The Fortune Teller Said’, will be released on September 24 in France (no news of any UK or Ireland release or concerts), and the first single taken from it is called ‘Hey Darling’. It’s not up to the high standard of the songs from the first album, so there’s a serious risk of second-album syndrome here. Having said that, it’s still miles more enjoyable than current French indie heroes Kaolin and Mick Est Tout Seul (the latter being the solo project of the singer from a band called Mickey 3D), neither of which are our thing.


God save Rhesus and their pop anglaise, and let's hope that second album is a cracker. Check out their website and MySpace page for more info and tracks. In the meantime, here’s ‘Hey Darling’:

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4 comment(s) so far...

Re: New French Music: Rhesus

"current French indie heroes Kaolin and Mick Est Tout Seul (the latter being the solo project of the singer from a band called Mickey 3D), neither of which are our thing."

really? well i don't really like Kaolin (i'm just proud of them because they are from my region and i saw them when they were a local band), but Mickey Tout Seul? i think we like the person Mickael Furton before even listening to his music (i've also met him a long time ago as we have friends in local bands in common): he is a nice guy, suggesting things like take care of the environment, of our children, of our planet but without shouting/being aggressive or too insistent. so we are listening to him, to his words and the melody is just here to support his lyrics.
you should check out Mickey 3D, the album La Treve, some songs are more "pop anglaise" i'd said...

p.s Rhesus are indeed a really good band.

By Edith on   Friday, August 10, 2007

Re: New French Music: Rhesus

Edith, I've heard Mickey 3-D a lot since I came to France but I just don't like them. As you said, his lyrics seem to be more important to him than his melodies - personally I don't listen to music to learn a singer's views about social issues; I just want a catchy tune!

By aidan on   Friday, August 10, 2007

Re: New French Music: Rhesus

"I just want a catchy tune!"

i wrote that a month ago... ;-)))
"but i can see why they are not really known in Ireland, not catchy enough i said, the irish like to sing along (cf arcade fire, razorlight, the killers, snow patrol, the blizzards etc)..."

what about Dionysos then?

By Edith on   Saturday, August 11, 2007

Re: New French Music: Rhesus

Voila - it's a cultural difference! As for Dionysus: I like 'Song For Jedi' but their most recent album was a bit too 'chanson francaise' for me (I am allergic to Vincent Delerm, Miossec, etc). Again, maybe a cultural difference on my part (and I need to listen to them some more)... but at least we agree that Rhesus are a fine band - and I still can't understand why Phoenix are not global superstars! (Lots of great music in France these days - you should be proud!)

By aidan on   Saturday, August 11, 2007

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Aidan Curran, based in Paris, has been writing for CLUAS since 2004. More info about Aidan...

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