Album: Hot Club De Paris
Album: Drop It 'Till It Pops
Comments: Since the turn of the century, Europe has been kicking our ass at pop music. Radio has been importing their pop-rock from across the pond for years now, but with the popularity of bands like Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, and the Fratellis some people seem to think we are in the midst of a miniature British invasion. Even big name pop acts like Beyonce and Christina Aguilera are being out-sung and out-done by European acts like Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen. With the release of Drop It ‘Till It Pops, young upstarts Hot Club De Paris are making sure that this trend doesn’t change any time soon.
Drop It ‘Till It Pops is about as fun a record as I have heard this year. All the usual influences are heard in the music; the band borrows a little from XTC in the vocal work, a little from Wire in the guitar playing and song length, and has just as much youthful energy as anything the Futureheads or the Arctic Monkeys have put out. Still, what is really remarkable about the group is how well they play together. The clean, tight, efficiency of UK pop is long documented, but Hot Club De Paris is doing much more than power chords and 4/4 time. Opening track “Shipwreck”, would be nothing more than a faux sea shanty without the manic, light speed guitar line that anchors the song. The same can be said for the more somber, but equally catchy “Clockwork Toy.”
Songs like “3:55 AM: I Think We Should Go Home” and break neck “Sometimesitsbetternottostickbitsofeachotherintoeachother” explore the manic, almost desperate joy of being young and dumb; Hot Club De Paris play as if they are trying to beat the clock and get as many miles out of their youth as they can. Still, the band maintains a tongue-in-cheek stance throughout, taking serious issues as lightly as they can without making a joke of them. With song titles like “Snitches get Stitches”, its easy to see that this is a band that can take a joke.
Even though the album is only 30 minutes long, it can get repetitive. “Names & Names & Names” stretches the lighting fast and submarine tight playing almost to its breaking point, and the interesting but unsatisfying foray into beat boxing on “Bonded By Blood (A Song For Brothers)” is entertaining, but not more than a gimmick. There are two songs on the record that establish Hot Club De Paris as more than the typical scene band looking to cash in on a sound. The first is the excellent “Your Face Looks All Wrong”, which is a somber look at city living where ghosts complain of over crowding while the young punks navigate through burning buildings. It is a sobering piece about the sadder side of the city, and it’s delivered with a tender and knowing hand.
Still, if “Your Face Looks All Wrong” is sobering, then “Hello, I Wrote A Song For You Called ‘Welcome to the Jungle’” is a cold shower and a hot cup of coffee after a long, hard night. The curtains come down, the walls fall, and the man-boys of Hot Club De Paris expose themselves as people just looking for something, anything, to hold on to. The break-neck guitars fall away, the drums relax, and the bass line dances over tragic and accurate character sketches of the lonesome unwashed of the world, adopted children, and the power of women who look good when the walk away. It’s a crushingly beautiful song, and easily the best song on the album.
Even without the quiet moments of reflection, Drop It ‘Till It Pops is still worth a spin based on musicianship and sheer fun. Like the best things in life, it never lasts long enough, but the good news is that once it’s over you’ll want to put it back on again and again. I can only hope that the boys in the Hot Club catch on here in the states. As long as Europe keeps making music like this, I have no problem with this invasion.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Key Tracks: Clockwork Toy, Hello, I Wrote A Song For You…, Welcome to the Hop, Your Face Looks All Wrong.
Worth The Money: Absolutely
Hot Club De Paris - Hellow, I Wrote A Song For You Called "Welcome to the Jungle"