Many of us were left mesmerized with the precious melodies and the elegant pop that "Doux-amer" had, the debut album of LES TRÈS BIEN ENSEMBLE put out three years ago. It’s obvious that more than a few profess an adoration for them, after all, "A Hélène" has been a tune for three consecutive years for the Blancolor campaign of the Spanish El Corte Inglés, and their songs were also used in television series, such as, in the new season of "Cuestión de Sexo" on the Spanish tv channel, Cuatro. With some intense years touring extensively in Europe (in England and Spain, together with THE WOULD-BE GOODS; France, of course, also surrendered to their sound), and after a change in the group’s lineup with the inclusion of Charles Gasqué (AKA Carlos Andreu, mastermind behind our beloved GASCA) instead of Paul Aroid, the long-awaited second album of the Catalonia band has finally come out: “Rougeole.”
"The title, "Rougeole"(“measles” in French) makes reference to something that only time can heal. Time means life and death all at once, something out of human control which inexplicably advances to a particular destiny."Rougeole" talks about the end of a vital stage, from disappointments to obsessions and desires, from hope to desperation, from excitement to anguish, reliance, nostalgia and indifference.” There is not any better way to describe this album, as it allows the listener to see the human side of stuff and, as exciting as it is, there is also room to talk about the contradiction of simply existing, to make you feel in one’s skin over the passing of the years, always with a tone of vital hope which characterizes them and plays out in all of the songs in “Rougeole.” Suzette’s voice, like fine wine, has aged over the years, in solemnity, in elegant and in body (the Swedish group, ACID HOUSE KINGS, one of Johan’s groups, member of CLUB 8 and THE LEGENDS warned this as he solicited her voice for the EP, “Sing Along with the Acid House Kings”) and the guitarist of Philippe des Fraisons, our beloved Felipe (LOS FRESONES REBELDES, COLA JET SET) strongly proclaims himself with his unique accent, separating from his influences from the sixties but always giving justice to the songs, with their hard-to-imitate luster, bringing them closer to a classical sound (in the best sense of the word), something the group has longed for.
"Rougeole" would be what some experts may describe as “a mature album,” and the curves of this album are displayed through laughter, at times complacent and other times exciting—forms of music that are found in admired elegant musicians, such as Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg, with the brightful touch on the guitars, as heard from noteworthy groups such as THE BYRDS, THE LEFT BANKE and LOVIN’ SPOONFUL, with the melodic inspiration of Françoise Hardy. An album which places them on the map, along with other great contemporary French-speaking groups such as Françoiz Breut, Philippe Katerine and a bit less melodic, Keren Ann – all of this granting them a stream of personality as they shine with their own light in today’s scene. Twelve songs which confirm inspired composers, much more astounding than any predetermined sound or style.
THE SONGS, ONE BY ONE
- "Tahiti n’est pas si loin" is a pop delight with a sophisticated disco beat, like a sunset cocktail mix between Diana Ross and Serge Gainsbourg on the shores of Tahiti, a paradise where a reunion is always possible. This paradise is not so far out of reach, or at least, so it seems.
- "Nos Jeux" is the perfect condensation of LES TRÈS BIEN ENSEMBLE pop essence. France Gall and Françoise Hardy (how many times can we evoke our favorite muses while we listen to this album) are personified in the lips of Suzette when she sings with that tyranny known as love and the complications of games of domination and submissiveness.
- "Sahara" is the selected song for the first video of this album, one of the amazing consequences of Charles Gasqué forming part of the group. A song which grows with great intensity between the wonderful arrangements, somewhere between spatial and electrical.
- "Prière" is one of the most well-rounded compositions to date for the group. A melody and arrangements which Françoiz Breut would be jealous of, a voice which moves between elegance and sobriety and a prayer dancing between unforgettable phrases. Suzette describes the song: "A desperate plea that someone listens to me, somebody of a higher power. Someone who is able to recognize the efforts I make to survive and someone who can free me from the claws of the devil I carry inside. Hell is not the others—as J.P Sartre would say- rather, the veil that covers my eyes ."
- In "Respire" there are moments of YO LA TENGO and STEREOLAB, another French speaking band born in a context completely different than the band’s other influences The chorus is filled with upbeat melodies, a bridge as surprising as it is addictive, once again with lyrics that show the maturity of this band in all aspects, straying away from stereotypes and an attitude which moves between the bittersweet tones and borderline vitality.
- "Trop Blanc"; Everything is so white, there is something that blurs memories, which makes it hard to look back: a fantastic metaphor about the passing of time and the devastating effects and the dead-end roads which ruin relationships. The glass is half empty.
- "Si je touchais le fonds"; Nancy Sinatra watches as the day passes. The descent precipitates itself: "Si al menos llegara al final de este calvario, sólo quedaría subir,” which means, “Once you hit rock bottom, the only way out is up.”
- "C’est le temps", the light at the end of the tunnel, there is a certain possibility to change things. The moon shines through a halfway open shutter, in a small alleyway in Montmarte, while an accordion plays tunes similar to Pascal Comelade. The glass is half full.
- "Cercles autour d’un point" or when you cannot keep your eye off something, when you can’t see much farther, when obsession takes over you. When love is a question of pride. When THE BYRDS sneak in from the back door. When BELLE & SEBASTIAN are saved by the trumpet. When perfection is near.
- "Le miroir", "El espejo muestra un rostro mío que ya no reconozco. No puedo creer que me haya convertido en ese fantasma que veo reflejado en el espejo. Preferiría no existir. Me falta aliento. Siento como si mi corazón quisiera dejar de latir.” Meaning “The mirror shows a face that I do not recognize. I can’t believe I have converted into the ghost that I see in the mirror. I would prefer not to live. I can’t breathe. I feel as though my heart is going to stop beating.” This song is probably the saddest and most melancholic of the album, one which summarizes the vision of time and the effect that it has over us and it is done with a majestic melody and marvelous string arrangements. Something beautiful, with an air of melancholy bordering it, evoking a classical Dominique A, exciting, with arrangements which Louis-Philippe could have done.
- "Ma place", the pop pill required after "Le miroir," -an injection of energy. Once again the scale has equilibrium and the optimism appears again, the contradictions are finally what makes sense of everything. And that guitar with vibrato is bound to go to heaven.
- "Un jour"; The coda. You cannot talk about time without talking about the future, without talking about hope, even if it is bittersweet between teeth. This is why the new album of this Catalonian band is so great, because the album just gets better and better until the end (something very different to what bands do nowadays), because the melodies and the songs in the end do not require explanations in order to understand what they want to transmit – and we assure you - it is a lot.
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