Indochine ‘Black City Parade’ CD/LP/Ltd. edition 2CD (France Only) (Sony France) 3/5

indochineFrench group Indochine were one of the new wave of musicians to emerge in the early 1980s and built up a cult audience with albums of the calibre of ‘L’Aventurier’ and ‘Le Péril Jaune’ that stand the test of tiume remarkably well. Some have compared them to a Gallic equivalent of Dépêche Mode, but that would be to do Indochine an injustice since they have their own individual style and one rooted in a French indie rock sensibility. An anthology of their first decade and a half , ‘Birthnday album. 1981-1996’ (2CD Sony 2004) captures the essence of the band as does a mammoth live 3 DVD set ‘Putain de Stade. Live 2010’.

After a period of relative quiet in their studio output during the 1990s, the group came back to form with a trio of albums in the noughties (‘Paradize’, 2002, ‘Alice et June’, 2006 and ‘La République des Météors). The latest album continues in a similar vein, simple melodies structured around lusher arrangements, mixed by Shane Stoneback of Sonic Youth fame, with a selection of reflective themes that covers some controversial subject matter, both internally and on an international scale. The latter comes into play on ‘Le fond de l’air est rouge’ in reference to the student demonstrations in Quebec in 2012, while the polarisation of debate on same sex marriages is alluded to on Collège’. Indochine’s willingness to take on challenging issues is further exemplified by the choice of ‘Boy’ which denounces latent homophobia. Three bonus tracks features on the 2 CD version and there is even a DVD making of the album. If you want to discover how indie music might sound in French, then Indochine is the first port of call in your investigations.

Tim Stenhouse