Great songs are great songs no matter what, and Nouvelle Vague have proven that with Athol Brose – an EP of dreamy post-punk covers to sail into the sunset to.
The brainchild of Marc Colin and Olivier Libaux, Nouvelle Vague (which means new wave in French, you see?) strip back often fast and ferocious anthems and introduce bossa nova arrangements and dreamy vocals from a revolving cast of female singers, shining a completely different light onto the tracks, while affording the songs space to breathe.
Title track and opener ‘Athol Brose’ is no longer the bombarding Cocteau Twins original, but a gentle acoustic lament, complete with soothing vocals. Likewise, Zazie’s ‘La Pluie Et Le Beau Temps’ has been shed of synths and drum machines to equally charming effect.
Undoubtedly the most fascinating moment of the EP – which is a taste of things to come from upcoming album I Could Be Happy – is the Dream Koala remix of one of the project’s original covers, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ (which was coincidentally sang by the producer’s mother, Eloisa). The ethereal nature of the track remains, but the innocence has now disappeared. Where Joy Division’s original is incongruously euphoric considering the subject matter, this version is suitably haunting and paranoid.
The effect of following the two bright opening tracks with an altogether darker effort is brilliantly jarring, and adds a captivating attitude to the EP.
If ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ signals a spell of troubled waters as you sail out to sea, Buzzcocks classic ‘Ever Fallen In Love’ is a much happier conclusion – the promise of an enthralling sunshine on the horizon.
Athol Brose, the upcoming EP from Nouvelle Vague, is out 2 September.