Lola Dutronic "In Berlin" on the way to Shanghai

Given the high quality of the work coming out of Paris it seems that getting word of a new group can lead to either joy at the thought of hearing the next big thing, or fear at the concept that it won’t match up to it’s Parisian counterparts. Considering that some of my favourite music has come from France I must admit that initially I was in the latter category. I feared that I would be bombarded by either another Air clone or Daft Punk look-alike… but upon listening to Lola Dutronic it becomes clear almost immediately that this is far more in tune with fellow countryman Dimitri than the other big French exports.

While it must be said that there are definitely moments where Lola Dutronic seem to channel a softer side of Goldfrapp or Mono, that is never a bad thing as overall the general vibe of a 60′ Peter Sellers movie is obviously what this outing is all about. There are moments where the tempo raise and we kick into a 4-on-the-floor beat, the general ambiance is suited to a night in, given to a classy dinner party, perhaps.

The album seems to kick into it’s stride during these more upbeat moments, and really enter into a sound it can call its own. While the slower moments are wonderfully produced, the listener can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s a little too close to the influences that precede it. Once we start to speed up a little with such as the tracks Chanson D’ete< & My Radio we start to remove ourselves from the well-worn path of French Lounge and give a much needed injection of life, which really allows the group to move beyond their contemporaries.

As for the production on the album, it is suitably pleasant. There is a good use of sound placement (both stereo and depth of field) within the songs and the drum programming is crisp and clean. The vocals can at times come across somewhat ‘soft’ compared to the clarity of the rest of the music, which in and of itself isn’t a problem but seems to be more and more prevalent as vocals become the only part of current music that is not synthetic. The quality of songwriting is never in question, however, with a general upbeat vibe throughout. So while not breaking any new ground that is evidently not something that Lola Dutronic set out to do…. and for that you are treated to an album of soft melodies and nostalgic moments that are neither old or new, but nonetheless a pleasure to listen to.

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