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Album Review

French act My Sister Klaus aren't shy about claiming the mantle of earlier Gaelic rockers like Metal Urbain — they say as much on their website — but on the band's debut they show that they do have some money to put where their mouth is, often quite well. If nothing else, hearing a modern post-punk band willing to play around beyond astringent funk arrangements is refreshing, even if the end effect is a bit like listening to a Lower East Side-via-Paris jukebox from 1981. Songs like "Privateer," with its calm, moody combination of vocals and guitar that then slides into a low-key but charging enough rocker, suggests American acts like La Peste and even the danker side of the Cramps as much as French compatriots. Perhaps the most obvious touch from the U.S. would have to be the feeling of Johnny Thunders and Richard Hell's wasted anthems, which have an echo in songs like "Electric Hindu," aiming for a just-poetically-drugged-enough feeling. It doesn't always work, honestly, but it's a fair effort, and in all, Chateau Rouge has some good stuff going for it. Highlights include the synthetic bass and beats on title track, definitely working within a Metal Urbain tradition, the twisted and (perhaps very intentionally) slightly James White-style shuffle of "Off White" and the prettily acoustic yet still unsettled "La Tour de Nesles."

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