Koko Von Napoo - June (Trouble Records)
Laura Bruneau | Monday, 17 August 2009
Parisian group Koko Von Napoo bring with them a new generation of alien chic on EP June. Title track 'June' opens with vocals reminiscent of Eugene Hutz and Kate Bush's love child (if they fed it helium). Electric organs with just a hint of clanger charm combine with the all too familiar artschool-indie drum beat to ensure that this track will be gracing the cheap and cheerful student dance floors come September.
Despite this less-than-promising start, they are the kind of band that will begin to grow on you just like an intergalactic fungus. There is more than a touch of new romantic to 'Rocky' and with atmospheric '80s-style synths and Camille-type drawling vocals, Koko Von Napoo sound like Nouvelle Vague if they weren't a covers band.
Following in the footsteps of many French indie-pop outfits of late, these Parisians have taken anglicizing to a new level. Apparently drawing the name of the group from a pre-war Manchester gang, their music follows a similarly British tack in more than just language choice. Hand pumping indie dross has clearly managed to swim the channel and infect the neighboring French populace. Let's just hope it's not airborne yet!
Nevertheless, if it weren't for the monotonous drum beat, 'Baden Baden' could have been a triumphant combination of Air, Babylon Zoo and Josie and the Pussycats, with a little extra cuteness for good measure. Mixing up the textures on this track, we see the band's real potential for defining their sound.
Despite using English lyrics, there are moments where their singing is so indecipherable that they may as well be singing in Vulcan, yet, perhaps surprisingly, this adds to Koko Von Napoo's charm. Rather than becoming frustrating, it adds a stylistic edge to their work and a layer of exoticism as we struggle to eek out meaning from the jumble of words.
Nowhere is this more prominent than on 'Polly', which has been given an electro-remix makeover by Chateau Marmont since its single release last year. Lifting it up and out of the doldrums, Chateau Marmont has managed to entirely change this track's tone from a wistful indie ballad to an upbeat euro-electro pop anthem worthy of a party at Terry Wogan's house. So if you buy this EP will Terry invite you over? Probably not, but there's always hope.