Label: Peacefrog Release Date: Out Now Website: www.myspace.com/nouvellevague Buy: Amazon Buy Amazon As I write this review Des O’Connor is currently blabbering in the background. He’s not in my house. He’s on the radio. Des O’Connor is somebody that I’ve never quite made up my mind about; no matter what he does I remain completely ambivalent. He could run naked into Morrrisons, stop by the dairy section and pour Apple flavoured Muller Rice all over his shrivelled genitalia before dry humping a supermarket trolley and still I wouldn’t know what to think of the man. I feel the same way about Covers bands. I’ve witnessed hundreds of shambolic Covers bands slaughter through renditions of ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ yet I can’t say I’ve ever truly despised their efforts. But at the same time I can’t say I really enjoyed the experience either, chewing hard on the straw whilst sipping on my Dandelion and burdock at the back of a dingy pub. So a bunch of barmy Frogs covering cool hits from the late seventies / early eighties, only stripping back these tracks and arranging them so that they sound a little more cultured is apparently the ultimate evolution of Covers bands. On their first album Nouvelle Vague had a nice little party trick, on the second the joke was wearing a little thin and now by the third you are truly tearing your hair out. You wonder how have they managed to ride this to album number three? Well, the strange thing is that playing cover versions using a variety of naïve chanteuses in unique arrangements works, on 3 we head more into Country Music territory, away from the smooth Bossa nova easy listening of the previous two Nouvelle Vague albums. Another unique feature is the guest appearances of Martin Gore on ‘Master & Servant’, Ian McCulloch on ‘All My Colours’ and Barry Adamson on ‘Parade’. Musicians guesting on renditions of their own songs. How wacky is that? Not every cover works. ‘Blister in the Sun’ already overexposed thanks to those annoying Fosters adverts is pretty humourless. There is further proof that Talking Heads are a band that cannot be successfully covered on ‘Road to Nowhere’, and ‘Ca Palne Pour Moi’ also struggles to top the careless joviality of the original. There is something daft about ‘God Save the Queen’ becoming a harmless summery kitchen sink song sung by a bored Parisian housewife. The delivery of “No future for me” brings up the image of someone trapped in a domesticated hell, cleverly the song carries a different meaning completely, it is one of the more unexpected plus points of 3. I imagine people who hear this album for the first time without previously being aware of Nouvelle Vague will quickly become enamoured. When I first heard them cover ‘Too Drunk to Fuck’ a couple of years ago I to was in the “Holy Smokes! This is brilliant!” club, but the endearing qualities of using a variety of female vocalists who were previously unaware of the original songs seem to get lost in the overbearing knowingness of the arrangers Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux. If we are to applaud Nouvelle Vague then we must congratulate them on their longevity, on taking a semi-serious idea and successfully running with it for the last five years. Rating: 6/10