Stereo Total’s Brezel Goring and Francoise Cactus managed to reach a kind of polyglot pop perfection on 2002’s Musique Automatique, a record which successfully took from surf-rock, synth-pop, chanson, electro-pop and garage-rock, with no room to mention the other genres. And now, on Do the Bambi, the duo picks up exactly where they left off.
Do the Bambi ostensibly carries on the torch from Automatique, there are again too many genres involved to mention, what differs is the tone of the album. There’s a subtle, yet soulful neo-Kraftwerk coating to most of these nineteen songs that gives Bambi a distinct identity that separates it from its predecessor. If Automatique soundtracked 8p.m to 11:59 on some implausibly fun night out, Bambi sounds more like midnight through 6 a.m. The Vice City to the former’s Grand Theft Auto, if you will. Except less likely to give you bad skin.
Again things are multi-lingual, unlike this reviewer. Opener “Babystrich” is a hymn to old men curb-crawling for adolescents, with English lyrics, about “half a child with pin-head eyes.” It explains the older punters lust for her, knowledge of her heroin addiction, and desire that she “step into their car.” It sounds like Miss Kittin jumping on Franz Ferdinand records with toxic shoes, and manages to stay in the good taste barriers. Its assertion that “she looks really cool,” isn’t really any problem, in fact it seems almost a triumph. And as per usual with this band, without the lyric sheet you’d be too busy dancing. The title track contains faint traces of Moon Safari era Air, perhaps with a touch of Radio-Activity. Cactus’ vocals sound sumptuous. “Das Erste Mal,” manages to come across as one of the most affective love songs I’ve ever heard. Shades of Ian Curtis, Spiritualized and popular retro UK children’s TV show The Magic Roundabout abound. Check the translation of the chorus supplied in the lyric sheet for confirmation of its genius.
“La Douce Humanite” is superb, in a garage-rock gone disco kind of way. If I ever have a band with annoying haircuts and suits I want them to sound like this. “Les Lapins” provides a strong early contender for my favorite song of 2005. It makes like the best possible collaboration between Teenage Fanclub and Nottingham deep-house duo Bent. “Hungry!” Is smile-raising, and rocks out in the vein of David Holmes’ Free Association project. “Orange Mecanique” admittedly robs wholesale from “A Clockwork Orange,” but that’s always been a key strength for this duo, and the song is short and sideways thinking enough to stand on its own two heads. The closing cover of the Nico’s “Chelsea Girls” has a strange Trance-power ballad feel to it. But it wears it well, like a last minute addition to the Run Lola Run soundtrack, in fact.
Like Automatique before it, this album passes through the listener effortlessly. I’ve heard it fully around four times (usually after starting at whichever track I’d fallen in love with and finding that I didn’t want to skip the next song), and I’ve noticed something different each time. It’s a push to find similar albums to Bambi, but plenty of really good singles come to mind. Pop or whatever, Stereo Total has the good music.
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