Fans of the French synth-pop band La Femme drop a lot of names to describe the ambitious group led by keyboardist Marlon Magnée, guitarist Sacha Got, and singer Clémence Quélennec, many of them provided by the musicians themselves: Kraftwerk, the Velvets, Roxy Music, etc. But the outfit that keeps springing to mind as I obsessively repeat-play their second album Mystère is the Belgian singer Plastic Bertrand, the auteur behind the unforgettable 1977 single “Ça plane pour moi” (or “Jet Boy, Jet Girl,” as it became in the English version). The same sort of slightly naughty, space-age seductive, effervescent pop giddiness fuels all of these 15 tracks, most of which boast hooks that are just as enduring and unforgettable. Ashamedly ignorant of the most Romantic of European languages, I have no idea what silken-voiced chanteuse Quélennec is singing about in tracks such as “Le vide est ton nousveau prenom,””Tueur de fleures,” and “Où va le monde,” but I’m hooked nonetheless, instantly transported from the boisterous café clatter of “Conversations nocturnes” to a quiet moonlit moment sipping Pernod and jus d’orange in the shadow of the Louvre on the left bank of the Seine. And, really, what could be better than that?
La Femme, Mystère (Born Bad)
Rating on the 4-star scale: 4 stars.