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Album Review

There is an arch pun in the title of this Rita Mitsouko release, which sees the French boho-rock duo eschewing standard French pop (or variété) in favor of a broader rock palette. Opening track "L'Ami Ennemi" immediately surprises with its delicacy. In an incongruously sweet vocal turn, Catherine Ringer sneers at an old friend over lilting acoustic guitar laced with harmonica; it is a terrific song. Harmonica also features in second song "Communiqueur d'Amour," "Berceuse" ("Lullaby") is jokily named, given its squall of electric guitar and belligerent chorus, and "Terminal Beauty" finds Ringer trading overblown vocals with System of a Down's Serj Tankian. Although the songs on Variéty lack uniformity of purpose, there are a couple of highlights.

Biography

Formed: 1980

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Les Rita Mitsouko came together in the spring of 1979 when guitarist Fred Chichin and singer Catherine Ringer began working on the same theater production. Upon their first meeting, they were inseparable, talking until they realized they should start the band together. Ringer decided to take on lyrical duties, while Chichin became the resident instrumentalist. They debuted later that year, with Ringer on the organ and Chichin on guitar, while everything else was prerecorded. Around this time they...
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Variéty, Les Rita Mitsouko
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