Automatiq: Veut Juste Changer le Monde et Baiser Ta Femme

This little gem was released in France in June of last year and has gradually picked up a word-of-mouth following. While it’s not breaking any boundaries, ‘Automatiq Veux Juste Changer le Monde et Baiser Ta Femme’ (translation: Automatiq Just Wants to Change the World and Sleep with Your Wife) is a sparky debut from Lille-based bedroom auteur Eddie Liénard-Hanot and his band that distinguishes itself through its acerbic social commentary and assured marriage of hooky indie rock and electro pop – interspersed with short bursts of scabrous techno, for good measure. 

Aside from Eddie’s undoubted pop nous, the album’s musical appeal (and also the limits of that appeal) rests on what could be called its accomplished modesty. There are a few flourishes like the strings on ‘C’est Toujours Pareil’, which otherwise makes the most of three chords and warm guitar fuzz, and some tricksy effects on sly dance workout ‘My Chanson Est Une Sonnerie’ but, for the most part, simplicity and efficacy are the key. Of course this could just be a case of making the most of one’s limitations, but it almost feels like a moral position – since Automatiq is taking aim at the fripperies and excesses of mass culture, it might weaken his own position to luxuriate in too many florid touches.

Lyrically, Eddie takes pot shots at everything from fad diets and songs written as ringtones to popular obsession with brutal killers, confesses his own contradictory nature on ‘Tout et Son Contraire’, and threatens to sleep with your wife, while ‘Journée Type’ recalls Philippe Katerine with its list of quotidian banalities. Fortunately he’s on no state-of-the-world soapbox here, it’s clear he’s just one voice – both indignant and defeated – registering his observations, and he does so with some wit and just enough musical verve. He’s got Rockfort’s attention anyway, and we’re looking forward to any future dispatches.

David McKenna