Sunday, 17 April 2011

French connections, part two

I’m going all Francophile again today.

J’adore ceci…

A classic scene from a classic nouvelle vague film -  Jean Luc Godard’s  ‘Bande À Part’ - with one of my favourite songs by French ensemble Nouvelle Vague.  I think it just fits so well.  The timing is quite something and, well, for me it’s just one of those satisfyingly complementary combinations.  Like peaches and cream, or rough paper and a soft pencil, or (just for you Godard fans) like Jean Seberg and Jean Paul Belmondo.  The dance sequence itself has also been cited as an influence for scenes in several other films, not least ‘Pulp Fiction’.

Nouvelle Vague, who also named their second album ‘Bande À Part’, frequently surprise with some of their more unlikely choices of cover versions.  If you know Lords Of The New Church’s original of this track, ‘Dance With Me’, you’ll appreciate how much they manage to change a song almost beyond recognition.  NV’s vocalist on here, Mélanie Pain (thank god she’s French, Melanie Bread just wouldn’t sound quite right), manages to make it sound so sensual, whereas Stiv Bators’ approach sounds, as you might expect, a tad more sleazy (much like his name).

Other tracks whose origins may be more familiar but which have been given the unmistakeable and often unexpected NV treatment to great effect are: 'Teenage Kicks',  'Guns Of Brixton', 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' and even 'Too Drunk To Fuck'…

Another personal favourite is their version of Depeche Mode’s 'Master and Servant', also sung by Mélanie Pain, along with Martin Gore.  Let’s play!


  1. Ah c'est bon ! Leaves me breathless.....

  2. Yes, it's great, isn't it?! I especially like that classic scene in the Louvre, would like to try that at the National Portrait Gallery one day!

  3. Spot on....this is pop cover version perfection. I was priviliged to see Nouvelle Vague at Brighton's tiny Komedia in 2004. Glorious. Thievery Corporation meets Blondie. In my 'umble opinion, their best cover is of Tuxedo Moon's "In a Manner of Speaking" which is breathlessly gorgeous...

    1. Ah, never seen them but would love to, and in a tiny intimate club sounds just perfect.
      Yes absolutely agree about 'In A Manner Of Speaking' too - I really like their more moody, melancholy sounding tracks.


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