Vive la Fête – Grand Prix

Not so long ago I was pretty enthusiastic about ‘Nuit blanche’ by Vive la Fête. Therefore I decided to get the new album of Danny Mommens and Els Pynoo. ‘Grand Prix’ follows the same line as ‘Nuit blanche’, which means catchy, uptempo electro-pop, some guitar riffs now and then and the crooning in French by Pynoo.

Danny Mommens, ex-bass player of dEUS, and singer Els Pynoo dig shamelessly in the electronic heritage of the eighties (especially groups like Visage, Telex and The Human League are influences, while Els is inspired by the likes of Jane Birkin en Serge Gainsbourg). In the best new romantic-tradition they have created a trendy, stylish image. Well-known couturiers like Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene and Louis Vuitton cherish the group, and invited Els and Danny to perform for instance during the Paris Fashion Week.

The new album digests pleasantly – I have a weak spot for retro bleeps and a royal dose of new beat – but it’s recommended not to listen very closely. The tracks on ‘Grand Prix’ are paper-thin and the subject matter is not very intellectual: wrong singers (‘Claude François’), tits (‘Litanie des Seins’) and more of this kind.

So Vive la Fête does not surprise or renew itself. Nevertheless, the lofi-postpunk-retro-electro-synthpop music swings like hell and luckily the group doesn’t take itself too seriously. On their website they call themselves the ‘Formula 1 of kitschpop’. The twelve tracks on the album are irrestible and invite you to jump around in your room – whether you want or not.

‘Grand Prix’ walks on the thin line between kitsch and embarrasing but never crosses the border in my opinion. It would probably have been different if Danny en Els had recorded a cover of, let’s say, Aha’s ‘Take on me’ or ‘Sweet Dreams’ van The Eurythmics. I can hardly imagine they would have gone away with it.
Listen to ‘Claude François’ and ‘Machine sublime’ and shake that booty…

artist: Vive la Fête
label: Surprise
details: 15 tracks, 2005