Yelle: Safari Disco Club
Yelle occupy a strange place in French pop’s geography. Their electro pop isn’t chic or cool, it’s shiny and fun. They’re not hip like Air, Phoenix, et al. Despite their songs being in French they’ve attracted international attention. More Supérette Proxi than Galleries Lafayette they’ve got the Katy Perry seal of approval and have covered Swedish electro-pop titan Robin. Despite the language and the leanings towards Lio or Alizée, they’d fit more snugly into the Nordic scene then France. This, their second album, hardly redraws their musical map. Frontwoman Julie Budet (Yelle) and her producer partners Jean-François Perrier (GrandMarnier) and Tanguy Destable (Tepr) remain a reductive, Gallic Dee-Lite, arch, cartoony and knowing. The landmark song, which put them on that map in 2007, was the wildly catchy 'Je Veux Te Voir'. Safari Disco Club is cut from the same cloth. The title track is clanky, tribal drum-infused synthy dance pop with an 80s feel (forgotten those bloopy Yazoo synths? You’ll remember them after hearing this). The robotically-delivered main refrain “les animaux dansent dans le safari disco club” is irresistible, impossible to remove from your head. Next up is single 'Que Veux Tu?'. Terrific, it actually could be a Lio record.
Safari Disco Club doesn’t stray far from its chosen templates, but it’s infused with such ridiculous pep that it’s impossible to hate. 'Comme Un Enfant' sings Budet, and it’s a childlike enthusiasm that’s spread across the album. Even the relatively reflective, baby-woman-voiced 'Chimie Physique' has a beat that moves. Playing with early hip-hop, 'Unillusion' could have been one of those early Malcolm McLaren forays into that new sonic world.
Cutenesss that doesn’t annoy – Yelle have achieved a rare thing.
© Kieron Tyler