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Grand Prix

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Album Review

By Grand Prix, full-length number four, Belgian electro-rock darlings Vive la Fête felt comfortable enough in their skin to try and tamper with their formula somewhat. It's still about driving synth pop with a bit of rock guitar, only this time Vive la Fête seemed to have remembered their '80s fetish and made it a point to showcase that side of their personality. A huge, unabashedly modern electronic crunch that dominated their previous record, Nuit Blanche, was replaced by a cold, bone-dry synthetic sheen reminiscent of early-'80s new romantic bands, and the guitars turned decidedly post-punk, too. The resulting record, in a rather hilarious turn of events, often sounds like a more outgoing and hedonistic (let alone female-fronted) version of the Seventeen Seconds-era Cure. There's even a direct reference, the melancholy "Petit Putain," which sounds almost exactly like "A Forest" — which should not by all accounts work but somehow does. For a band as devoted to having a good time and celebrating having it as Vive la Fête, there is a surprisingly melancholic streak to Grand Prix. Even the most energetic tracks, like the engagingly rocking opener "Hot Shot" or the mischievous one-two of "Non-Stop — Vive Fosset" and "Tu Connais la Derniere," are played as if the band deliberately tries to hold back a bit. Among other standouts worth noting is the cheeky "Claude Francois," which finds singer Els Pynoo name-dropping almost all the icons of French-language cool imaginable, and the nearly weightless "Miracle," with which Vive la Fête gracefully bows out. If Nuit Blanche was their nonstop party record, all about huge beats, thick basslines, and honest dancefloor sweat, Grand Prix gives you something like a morning-after version of Vive la Fête — a bit more subdued, a bit more vulnerable, but in the end no less likable.


Formed: 1997 in Belgium

Genre: French Pop

Years Active: '00s

Glamorous electro-rock duo Vive la Fête hail from Belgium and are, perhaps, one of the most distinctive European bands to successfully fuse synth pop and electro with a sexy, decadent aesthetic and punky energy. Originally formed as a side project by Danny Mommens, ex-bassist for Belgian indie rock legends dEUS, to play some music together with his girlfriend, Vive la Fete (which literally translates as "Long Live the Party") quickly established themselves as a potent musical force and became a full-time...
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Grand Prix, Vive la Fête
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