Electronic duo LOLA DUTRONIC return with a collection of tunes that exude style and charm…
Lola Dutronic was a project originally conceived by Richard Citroen to combine his love of 60s French pop with modern electronic music. The result has been a steady catalogue of inspired pop tunes which combine elements of wit and charm. If you’re a fan of outfits like Denim, this is the sort of thing that will strike a particular chord.
The particular approach of Lola Dutronic to music is best typified by 2012’s ‘Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead’ – a melodic slice of pop sensibility that explores the art of post-mortem fame (and which also features backing vocals by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth).
Now teamed with Germany-based singer Stephanie B, the Canada-based composer has served up perhaps Lola Dutronic’s finest moment to date in the shape of Lost In Translation.
The album (dedicated to the memory of New York Dolls manager Marty Thau) features as fine a collection of tunes as you can expect from a contemporary electronic outfit. Along the way, you also get some pithy commentary on the absurdities of modern living, such as the percussive pop of ‘Modern Suicide’ which dourly declares: “If a tree falls and you’re not on Twitter, would anybody see it, would anybody care?”
This theme is continued on the throbbing beats of ‘Reality TV’, exploring the obsession with fame and celebrity in the modern age. It’s this ability to combine simple, yet catchy electronic melodies with quirky lyrical narratives that have crafted Lola Dutronic’s own unique sound (and certainly sets them apart from the landfill electro that’s everywhere these days).
Meanwhile, ‘I Believe’ offers a straightforward love song with a yearning vocal from Stephanie B. “I believe that we could last forever/if we could only get together” could be viewed as an adolescent lyric on paper, but it’s given a particular charm and a particular power on this serving of wistful pop.
One of the album’s finest moments, however, has to be the acid-toned ‘Go Fuck Yourself’ with its pointed lyrical content about the breakup of a relationship. The melodic delivery of the song adds a delightful skewed element to the composition, complete with a jaunty organ solo at the halfway point. But it’s the straight delivery of the closing lines, including “And take your Kenny G records with you – and don’t forget Billy Joel” which offers the icing on the cake.
Keeping Lola Dutronic’s traditional Gallic torch song aesthetic alight, ‘Trying Not To Think About You’ delivers a travelogue paean to lost love and memory. Meanwhile, the stately pace of ‘The End Of The World’ continues tales of heartbreak and doomed romance with a definite French twist.
Citreon also spares time for a direct reference to his first musical love with a unique version of ‘Harley Davidson’ – a tune that Serge Gainsbourg originally penned for Brigitte Bardot.
‘Keep On Dancing’ employs judicious use of electronically treated vocal effects for an infectious slice of synthpop as Stephanie unveils a tale of growing old disgracefully. Meanwhile, the naïve charm of ‘The Christmas Disco’ offers up its stories of office Xmas Party dramas. The burbling synth rhythms chug along for a foot-tapping portion of seasonal pop.
‘Happy Endings’ furthers this peculiar combination of perky pop tunes and emotional turmoil. The breathy, sensual vocals of Stephanie B are given an electronic tweak on this very effective electropop delight.
The album closes with a ‘Modern Suicide’ reprise in which Lola Dutronic state their disdain for social networking: “Thank you for your interest, but don’t look us up on Pinterest”. Stick that in your Twitter.
It’s difficult to find a duff track on Lost In Translation, suggesting that Lola Dutronic have managed to raise the bar on what’s essentially the pinnacle of their work to date. The album will certainly appeal to those with a penchant for both good tunes and wry, social commentary – with a sprinkling of doomed love affairs.
Lost In Translation is out now.
He is responsible for design outfit Arc23 as well as writing for outlets such as J-Pop Go, Electronic Sound, All The Anime, Manga Entertainment and The Electricity Club.
He has been featured in a variety of press and media features including the Metro and Japan Update Weekly.