ALBUM REVIEW: Yelle “Complètement Fou”

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For the third studio album in their multifaceted and diverse discography, Francophones Yelle have gone insane. The title of their new record says it all: Complètement Fou, out tomorrow on Kemosabe Records, literally translates to completely crazy, insane or bonkers, and perfectly describes Yelle’s unique electric brand. The band, which consists of Julie Budet and Jean-François Perrier, first came on the scene in 2005, and their debut album, Pop Up, was released in 2007. It featured a non-stop array of eccentric, hip-rattling, French glory. Their second album, 2011’s Safari Disco Club reached no.9 in the U.S Billboard 2011 chart in the Dance/Electronic Albums category and gave us zany tracks that we still love, like “Comme Un Enfant”, and lyrics like “animals dance in the safari disco club.”

For Complètement Fou, the duo enlisted all-star pop producer Dr.Luke and features familiar Yelle beats, married with eccentric lyrics (“we danced till we cried tears of joy”) perfectly delivered by Budet in a sunny yet hypnotically sultry voice. The first single from the album, “Bouquet Finale” (Grand Finale) is a beautiful and seductive homage to the empowerment that comes from letting yourself get lost in the moment.

The album’s second and titular single, “Complètement Fou,” perfectly captures Yelle’s growth into a more well-rounded outfit with tighter and more firmly composed tracks. When compared to previous albums, there are subtle differences in the overall sound – no doubt the extra polish of Dr. Luke’s glossy production style – that make the band sound better than ever. And this time around, Budet tapped Tacteel of TTC to co-write lyrics, saying “We used to do everything by ourselves, but we wanted to open the circle this time around because we love people!” They worked together on Pop Up, so it was a natural fit, and no doubt tempered Budet’s characteristic snark just a little.

The whimsical “Ba$$in” and the steamy “Nuit De Baise I” – which is a rather suggestive song about being engulfed in the desire and ecstasy of another – are personal favorites. They both are so completely different from one another, and yet have the ability to make you have the same strong emotional response-auricular bliss. There is something so simplistic yet complex about the valley of rhythms in Yelle’s new album. There is no doubt that this album is the band’s best work yet.

Though I am not 100% fluent in French, I know enough to understand that Yelle has the ability to speak volumes, and reach a vast audience of Francophones and Anglophones alike with their work. Whether you’re a native Frenchie or not, you will be endlessly transported by the music Yelle creates.  Bravo pour Yelle, who has enough talent and spunk to drive one complètement fou indeed.

You can stream Complètement Fou now via Kemosabe records, and don’t forget to catch Yelle when they play Irving Plaza on October 10th.  It’s sure to be a lively time.

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