It's strange that synthpop has never been bigger than it is in France as the French language has always gone with such styles (think Visage's "Fade To Gray" or Gary Flanagan's "Metro Boulot Dodo" as just a couple of examples!). Still, there are synthpop bands in France and this sampler, from the Bordeom Product label provides a convienient way of finding out about them.
For the most part there's very little differences between these bands and their counterparts from Germany, there are very few obvious Gallic references to be found with none of the songs sung in their native tongue (only the spoken bit at the end is in French and that sounds uncannily like the 'Eclair' French language comprehension tapes we used at school!). This is a bit of a pity but there are still plenty of good songs to tempt the curious synthpopper.
The only name I was familiar with prior to hearing this was Cellulloide and "Two Fridays A Week" follows on from where their "Naive Heart" left off; unmistakeably 80s-influenced analogue pop with typically fine vocals from Darkleti. This old skool approach isn't much in evidence here with only Illegal File coming close on "Fallin' On Your Skin" which is slightly minimalistic with isolated synths setting a tense and brooding atmosphere with the half-legible voice samples adding to the unsettling tension. Otherwise, the digital mob have things pretty much their own way with Thee Hyphen (featuring Cellulloide member u-0176) providing "Into Dirt" and Streeturchin getting the album off to a good understated style, quite smooth and melodic. Another plus point is that just about all the bands boast good vocalists (not always something to be taken for granted!) with only Nouvelle Culture being less than perfect on the emotionally charged "Shadows" but it doesn't affect this track too badly so can be overlooked.
Pick of the bunch for me comes from Feelings Of Nowhere with "The Light", a pacey, melodic piece that is enhanced by what sound like authentic strings (although none are credited on the booklet!). Dekad's tension-filled "Tell Me" has a strong rhythmic presence which makes them another act to watch out for while Shed similarly come up trumps with the edgy "Sharks", a good track although I think a name change might do them good, doesn't exactly provike much excitement, does it? Beyond The Nightmare About Claudia (a name that stands out, you must admit!), The Three Cold Men and Sweet Silence both show a typically European feel on with their solid offerings and the bleepy female-fronted Electronic Agency close the album with "Road House".
As these are all new bands this comes without the affliction of most samplers, endless remixes, offering only one or two but those that are there are so in keeping with the synthpop style it hardly matters anyway. Full contact details are provided and like any good sampler this is an ideal tool for broadening your musical horizons and checking out what French synthpop has to offer.
Artist Link: http://www.boredomproduct.online.fr