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Trash, Rats, and Microphones

Heloise & The Savoir Faire

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Album Review

It's no surprise that Heloise & the Savoir Faire found early success in the U.K., since their flashy, stylish disco-rock recalls like-minded groups that are also big in Britain. Heloise and her crew come across a little like New Young Pony Club minus the aloof hauteur, or a less righteously angry Gossip. The band isn't as striking as either of those acts on Trash, Rats and Microphones, but they do deliver some danceable fun: the basslines boogie, the guitars shimmy, the percussion turns the beat around, and Heloise's vocals and lyrics are never less than attention-getting — with bon mots like "give you the royal treatment like Queen Elizabeth," it's also no surprise that she's friends with the queen of raunchy attitude, Peaches. "Members Only" celebrates the joys of '80s fashion, guest lists, and best-dressed lists with gleeful, unrepentant snobbery, and on "Datsun 280z," Heloise goes for cars and boys, backed by a stiff drum machine beat and guitars that squeal like brakes. The band serves up undeniably kinetic dancefloor rushes in "Illusions" and "Odyle," but if you're not dancing, it's too easy to notice how samey their songs can be, and how often they cross the line between sassy and annoying. Their charm disappears when they slow down the beat on "Po'T" and "Memorial Day," and songs like "Disco Heaven" get a pass mostly because of their irrepressible rhythms. Heloise & the Savoir Faire are at their best when they sound less like ironic hipsters from the 2000s and more like some long-lost band from the late '70s or early '80s, as on "Pick 'N' Choose," where Heloise's vocals intertwine with cheap and cheerful synths, or "Canadian Changes," where the beat and melody reign supreme. "Downtown" is another standout, not least because it features Debbie Harry from Blondie, one of the original (and best) bands to mix disco and rock. While Heloise & the Savoir Faire don't come close to the effortless flair that Blondie had with mixing these styles, Trash, Rats and Microphones still has enough, well, savoir faire to make it worth adding to the mix.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

One part theatrical pop, one part post-punk revival, New York's electro-rock outfit Heloise & the Savior Faire are fronted by charismatic peroxide-blonde singer Heloise Williams. Ever the showboat, she grew up in a small town in Minnesota with a penchant for performing, starting when she was just a child singing in the mirror while watching Solid Gold episodes. While attending Middlebury College in Vermont, she sang and played flute with an 11-piece jazz band for four years. After school, she...
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Trash, Rats, and Microphones, Heloise & The Savoir Faire
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