Nous Non Plus is the self-titled album that every pseudo-French band (based in Brooklyn) aspires to make with a luscious purse of the lip, a throwback nasal sound of the throat and “un petit quelquechose en plus” (“a little something extra”). The record mingles with a spectrum of rock & roll, pop and downtempo beats to complete a work that essentially pays tribute to '60s French pop.
The band includes former members of Les Sans Culottes (“Those Without Underpants”), which deteriorated after a legal confrontation with another bandmate. The seven coeds met at the Rhode Island School of Design (also known as RISD pronounced “riz-dee”) in the mid-'90s and by 1998 had re-grouped in New York. Among them, lead vocalist Celine Dijon is the sole French native. The rest include Jean-Luc Retard (singer/bassist), Bonnie Day (singer), Carl D’Hommage (guitarist), Morris “Mars” Chevrolet (keyboardist), Francois Hardonne (trumpeter), and Harry Covert (drummer). With backgrounds as colorful and hilariously exaggerated (check out their official bios) as their faux-French exterior, Nous Non Plus clutches to the French-English lyrics they lay bare.
The record’s opening lamentation of “L’Amant” (“Lover”) proceeds regally with the acoustic strumming and violin accompaniments with the ease to highlight a beaming cocktail. “Lawnmower Boy” features the onward of guitar and the niche vocals of Retard, who also exerts the flirtation of “One Night in Paris” – a song about Paris Hilton (“We smile/ It’s like a dare/It says to me no underwear”). Shift to “La Chateau” and encounter the blissful skip where the album shifts downtempo. Trumpets on “Premier Baiser” (“First Kiss”) abandon all thoughts in the mindset of a miniature Parisian cafe, while “La Ballade De Tourette” encompasses high hush vocals brave enough to leave with at the crack of the morning.
Nous Non Plus may stir some recognition and break a few hearty moments of decorum, but it's nothing that a little pseudo-culture shock and a French-to-English Webster couldn’t cure.