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Fixation Orale

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Album Review

On their third album (not counting the limited-edition live album Full Frontal Crudite), Brooklyn's les Sans Culottes still have the same strengths and weaknesses as on their first two, this time leaning a bit more towards the former than the latter. As always, their sound blends sweet ye-ye kitsch and garage rock brashness, and as always, April March was doing this sort of thing a lot better back in the mid-'90s. This time, however, the sound is more France Gall than Johnny Hallyday, down to a rocked-out cover of her Serge Gainsbourg-penned 1965 Eurovision Song Contest winner "Poupee de Cire, Poupee de Son." Frothy pop tunes like "Allo Allo" are equally charming. As before, however, there's an annoying level of artifice here; in particular, an irritatingly smug brand of hipster cool permeates songs like "Menage a Toi" and "Telephone Douche," which are clearly trying to be epater-les-bourgeois eyebrow-raisers in the manner of Gainsbourg's most notorious songs, but they're just — well, incredibly lame. It's like someone trying to mimic Dirty Mind-era Prince and getting the topic matter right but the funk all wrong. When they're being Gallic B-52's for the new millennium, Les Sans Culottes have the right idea, but when they're not, the entertainment level drops precipitously.


Formed: 1998 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Influenced greatly by 1960s French pop, les Sans Culottes moved in 1996 to Brooklyn, NY, where the group of eccentric musicians established itself with wild, outgoing live performances. Led by Clermont Ferrand and frisky chanteuses Kit Kat le Noir and Celine Dijon, les Sans Culottes (which translates to "those without undergarments," but also refers to the working-class members of the Third Estate during the French Revolution) found inspiration in the classic French pop of such artists as Serge Gainsbourg,...
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Fixation Orale, Les Sans Culottes
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