posted on August 09, 2007 19:26
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.
Rhesus 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’: