thu 22/02/2018

CD: Housse de Racket - Alésia | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Housse de Racket - Alésia

CD: Housse de Racket - Alésia

Stylish French pop from former backroom boys

Housse de Racket: about to eclipse former employers Air and Phoenix?

There’s a strand of electro-assisted, dance-leaning French pop that’s captured the international consciousness. Phoenix and Justice are Grammy winners, while Air exemplify the cooler, more reflective end of it. The bands come from chi-chi burbs like Versailles or towns south of Paris, south of the Seine. And so it is for Housse de Racket, an outfit from Chaville, between Versailles and Paris. On the evidence of their second album, they’re potential border breakers.

There’s a strand of electro-assisted, dance-leaning French pop that’s captured the international consciousness. Phoenix and Justice are Grammy winners, while Air exemplify the cooler, more reflective end of it. The bands come from chi-chi burbs like Versailles or towns south of Paris, south of the Seine. And so it is for Housse de Racket, an outfit from Chaville, between Versailles and Paris. On the evidence of their second album, they’re potential border breakers.

Pierre Leroux and Victor Le Masne are Housse de Racket, two session men making a bid to be bona fide popsters. They’ve recorded with both Air and Phoenix. Alésia is their second Housse de Racket album, following last year’s OK Forty Love. Alésia is produced by Philippe Zdar (Philippe Cerboneschi to his mum), the Paris-based mover who’s also one half of Gallic house types Cassius. It’s released by the über-hip Kitsuné imprint. So far, so in-crowdy.

Alésia, though, is perfect for anyone with a love of tuneful, lively, upbeat, electro-fied soufflé-light pop. Leroux and Le Masne have been taking notes during their past adventures. The dry guitar that opens and beds “Roman” could be from a Phoenix album. “Château” actually could be Phoenix. Phoenix’s last album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was patchy and thin, which proved no impediment to selling out shows worldwide and its tracks being used for soundtracks. Alésia is a stronger album.

Housse de Racket win by taking the familiar and running with it – there’s nothing new here, but what’s here has a terrific panache. “Les hommes et les femmes” is rolling electropop with syn-drum clashes and a bubblegum-perfect chorus that’s impossible to shake. “Roman” is melodically stronger than anything on Wolfgang Amadeus... The title track is an Air-side pass at side two of Bowie’s Low, resulting in an anthem that ought to soundtrack a sunrise.

Alésia was the battle where Julius Caesar beat the Gallic tribes. The significance of the title is clear. The former employees could be taking over.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Watch the video for Alesia’s “Roman”

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