Sonic Space: Complètement Fou

By Maya Poddar, The Dartmouth Staff | 10/13/14 3:00am

Full disclosure: this review is going to be extremely biased because I adore Yelle. Honestly, the trio, comprised of Julie Budet, Jean-François Perrier and Tanguy Destable,could release an hour of tuneless humming and I’d still be into it. That being said, “Complètement Fou” is a great good-times album.

If you’re looking for intellectually stimulating music, turn back now. If you want something great to listen to that could also potentially count as studying for French, proceed.

Though it was produced by Dr. Luke, the album is distinctly Yelle. The ’80s synth-driven, pop-based hip-hop vibe of Yelle’s two other albums hasn’t been stripped away. “Complètement Fou” presents a more polished effort than the previous albums but still retains all the moxie that makes Yelle fun.

Even the tongue-in-cheek track titles that mark up previous Yelle albums make an appearance on “Complètement Fou.” “Nuit De Baise” is a mellow reference to sex, reminiscent of “Mon Meillur Ami”, an older Yelle ditty about a vibrator.

The title track starts off with a wooshy, woopy beat that merrily bumps along. Whimsical synth swirls keep the repetitive lyrics from growing stale and feed nicely into the rest of the album.

“Ba$$in” is more classic Yelle. The twangy opening sets the scene for Budet’s half-singing, half-rapping combo. “Ba$$in” sounds most like Yelle’s break-out hit, “Je Veux Te Voir” with its punchy, sassy tone. It’s by far my favorite track on the album.

“Moteur action” is, in Budet’s own words, “a let’s go song.” It’s upbeat and pop-y and really, really fun to jump around to.

Budet’s voice can do a lot of things. In the second half of the album, her voice is all angles with clipped, crisp consonants and short vowels. “Coca Sans Bulles” demonstrates the softer side of Budet’s sweet voice. The track is sunny with a fuzzed-out interlude that breaks it up and prevents it for getting tiring. “Les Soupirs Et Les Refrains” is similarly mellowed out — or at least as mellowed out as Yelle can ever be.

While Budet’s charisma and spunk carries the album, Perrier’s beats keep the tracks from getting boring and bogged down. Though almost every track has a fairly predictable tune, Perrier includes synth-y trills and robotic bleeps to keep the songs moving at a fast pace.

Yelle is great. “Complètement Fou” is great. Dancing is great. Dancing like Yelle to “Complètement Fou” is the greatest. So here, in the midst of midterm hell, take some time and jump around like a fool to some cool, funky French electro-pop.

Maya Poddar, The Dartmouth Staff