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Don't have any French punk in your CD collection? Why wait?

French punk band Laids Cretins des Alpes show not only that there can be humor in music, but that there can be punk bands in France.


We don't often receive punk CDs here at Audio Masterclass Towers. We don't get many French CDs either, but here we have both in one package.

Laids Cretins des Alpes ('Ugly Cretins of the Alps') take their influences strongly from 80s punk with a dash of ska thrown in.

The lyrics are humorous, so we are told. Our French here is limited to, "Une biere s'il vous plait" (but we can say it very many times over the course of an evening). However, the delivery certainly has a suitable jaunty style to it.

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It can be more difficult to work within a genre that exists already than it is to create a sound of your own.

Your own sound might be created from things you can do musically, the absence of things you can't do, the quality of the equipment you have, and perhaps any oddities in the production and recording process.

But to successfully pastiche a genre, you have to be able to deliver every element that an enthusiast of that genre would expect.

And so Laids Cretins des Alpes have succeeded fully in this respect in their CD Keskonvafair'...?. Either they are genuine punks timewarped from the 80s, or they have analyzed the style in immense detail. Adding the ska elements could have resulted in a great big FAIL, but they work in a completely convincing way.

Obviously music like this will be guitar and drum based. The quality and texture of the recording works very well in supporting the songs. Instruments blend together into something of a 'wall of sound' rather than being distinctly articulated; clearly that was an intentional production decision.

The best feature of this CD however is the vocals. One might expect that a series of songs in an indecipherable foreign language might get a trifle boring after a while, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

I don't know how many people are singing here, but it sounds like the whole band, and layered up in multitrack too. I think I detect a female in there aussi (perhaps she posed for the 'mountains' on the front of the CD booklet!)

The vocals come and go in amazing variety and counterpoint. There is always something new coming up and the CD never fails to capture one's attention.

In summary, an excellent example of musical production that digs deep into the heart of a genre and comes up with something genuinely fresh and new.

P.S. Special congratulations on the effects in Les Punkachiens!

You can buy this CD from

By David Mellor Thursday November 30, 2006