heard on the wire

Nouvelle Vague // Athol Brose

Athol Brose

There is something essentially comforting about Nouvelle Vague, and their loungey, bossa nova covers of well-known and some less well-known post-punk tunes.

Back in 2004 they seemed like a novelty that would soon wear off, but, perhaps energised by a surprisingly effervescent live show, they’ve embarked on a career that will soon see them release a fifth LP. The first single from it is a cover of a Cocteau Twins song, from the Scottish band’s 1988 LP, Blue Bell Knoll.

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Lie on your back like an underscore

Love song

Some bands hit you immediately between the eyes; others cuddle up beside you. Ace Bushy Striptease did neither. In fact they did their best to stoke my disinterest, until the release of their 2012 LP, Outside It’s Cold Just Like the Inside of Your Body And.

“And what?” you might ask — a fair question to which I don’t have an answer.

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You just can’t believe the joy I did receive

A “covers album” comes in one of two forms, neither of which has made much of an impression on the listening public. The first is the generally dreadful and impeccably misnamed “tribute”, which generally comprises 20-or-so bands of which you’ve never heard performing terrible versions of much-loved songs. The Smiths, the Clash and Joy Division, among others, have all suffered this disrespectful fate.

The second form, however, can excite and delight. For some, the covers LP, is an entertaining diversion, for others it’s a raison d’être, but given a good artist armed with a decent record collection the result can be terrific, though I took some convincing.

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The clock is ticking…

They’re chiefly known for their louche covers of new wave classics such as Love Will Tear Us Apart and Teenage Kicks, which gave the band its name; The Becster calls them Vaguely New, which rather fits; and they’re astonishingly good live.

The band’s array of singers also have a musical life apart from revisiting the music of the late seventies and early eighties. The two producer-musicians behind the band, Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux, collected some of those recordings into an LP released in March 2011.

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