America has been the land of opportunity. Along with releasing their EP, Le Podium #1, La Femme is touring the US, hoping to grab some of our mystique to take home. SF Weekly quotes Marlon (from the band), "...when we go back to France, just having played around the U.S. will be an advantage." They've started their visit on the West coast, all the better to tap into their musical inspiration.
Surf music has had an impact all over the world from Dengue Fever's version of surf influenced Cambodian rock to Laika and the Cosmonauts Finnish take. La Femme's serve as Paris' latest entry on the scene. Their interpretation has electronic undertones. Tight beats and bass, flanged and reverbed guitar, and subtle keyboard work weave together. The mostly female vocals are all in French (naturellement). Sur La Planche shows off their dance surf sound.
After that start, Le Podium #1 drifts afield from a straight surf vibe. Télégraphe is a Blondie style new wave. Despite starting off with male vocals, the female vocal comes back. The nervous beat reminds me of Gruppo Sportivo's Mission a Paris. The band continues the new wave/post punk sound with La Femme Ressort. Here, their minimalist approach sounds the most emphatically French. The guitars take a backseat and let the keyboards drive this one.
The EP ends with the edgy electronic sounding Francoise, pushing the boundaries of "surf". Eventually, the foggy mood of the intro melts away to reveal the surf guitar melody. Even then, the synth sound dominates the arrangement.
Le Podium #1 is available on BandCamp. Listen and think of smoky late afternoon at the cafe, while the drizzle coats the streets.