The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Back in the days when this blog was a column typed arthritically on a steam-powered abacus, we featured 'Paris Calling', a 2006 compilation of the French capital's most exciting new English-language guitar bands.

PlastiscinesPick of the bunch were Plastiscines, four easy-on-the-eye French girls who make equally attractive punk-pop in the tradition of The B-52s, The Ramones and early Jam singles. 'Shake (Twist Around The Fire)', one of their two tracks on the compilation, was an especially catchy song that made it into our end-of-year list of the best French music of 2006.

We had high hopes for their first album, which has just been released under the very functional title of 'LP1' - and it hasn't let us down. It's 26 thrilling minutes of punk energy, pop melody and Parisian attitude. Around half the tracks are in English, so it's likely that the album will be released in Britain, Ireland and North America - especially as the girls recently played in London (with Pravda, our other favourite French band of the moment) and New York. No news of any Irish dates yet.

Plastiscines' domestic fortunes have been mixed, however. Despite positive reviews and healthy sales, the record hasn't achieved the sort of chartbusting success anticipated by the huge advertising campaign that preceded its release (although the album fully justifies all the hype). In fact, most of the band's media exposure has been in the fashion glossies and teen bibles - photoshoots and modelling, rather than music discussion. As a result, their credibility has taken a battering.

Their music press appearances have raised hackles among the '4-Real' old punk brigade who can't take female acts seriously and point to the girls' well-to-do upbringing in the bourgeois suburbs west of Paris. However, they are veritable peasants compared to the New York punk wannabes who formed while in a Swiss finishing school, or to the British diplomat's son who followed up his private-school education by writing and singing punk anthems like 'London Calling' and 'White Riot'.

Embodying this blog's mantra of 'catchy tunes by glamorous people', here's Plastiscines performing 'Shake (Twist Around The Fire)' at a special live showcase at the Trabendo in Paris:


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2007 - REM live in the Olympia, by Michael O'Hara. Possibly the definitive review of any of REM's performances during their 2007 Olympia residency. Even the official REM website linked to it.