There’s something to be said for a band that can gain a significant following in countries that do not even speak their language. That is exactly what French natives Yelle have done with the release of their third album Complètement Fou. After the worldwide success of their first two long-playing records, Yelle (Julie Budet), Grand Marnier (Jean-Francois Perrier) and Tepr (Tanguy Destable) have returned, only this time it’s a collaborative effort working alongside successful and well-known American producer Dr. Luke (Katy Perry, Robyn). Their wonderfully melodic compositions speak to audiences across the globe who enjoy the upbeat and joyously colourful Euro-Pop aesthetic that Yelle has to offer.
Opening with the title track, listeners are hooked in with a jarring and detached four bar synth riff that is continued throughout the song in various forms. A heavy dance beat then takes over and we hear the distinctive schoolgirl vocals of Julie Budet, which are both sweet and deceptively demure. There is an air of 90’s trance music in the choice of synths and they add an almost nostalgic feel to the thick bass lines that lay underneath. It quickly becomes clear that the bouncy, infectious sound that Yelle have become known for is continued in their latest offering.
Yelle are also great at breaking their songs down within the track itself as can be heard on Ba25011in, track number two. They experiment with ideas and play around with arrangements that keep the listener interested, often switching from darker more mysterious verses to bubbly, lighter choruses where Budet’s vocals seem to fly gracefully above the hard-hitting, inhumane array of electronic instruments below. It can sometimes however, feel a little too twee venturing dangerously close into the realm of sickly sweet bubble-gum pop.
At different points we are given a reprieve from electro-dance beats and offered a more down tempo cooling off period. Nuit De Baise is much slower, more harmonic and features some unexpectedly relaxing panpipe samples. Later on, Nuit De Baise II, a sexy, groove based number presents some refreshing male vocal input but at one minute twenty seconds, it feels short lived and it definitely would have been nicer to hear more.
All in all, it’s a great effort from the European trio and maintains their ability to stand out from the crowd. Budet’s voice is instantly recognisable and their quirky, upbeat rhythms will please listeners who are fond of their happy sounds. More appreciation needs to be given though to the importance of variety and while they do touch on this a few times, the effect feels incomplete. Here’s hoping they’ll use it as inspiration for their next album.