I was recently introduced to French electronic dance music quartet (I know, four dudes seems a bit much) Birdy Nam Nam last week, and after soaking in (absolutely loving) their new album Manual for Successful Rioting, I must say I am impressed. Their name is super stupid, but do not let that deter you from enjoying their multi-layered, frenetic and impressive sound. The album hits you right away with the brooding opener "Red Dawn Rising," shifting from its inconspicuous opening right into some 80's-approved keys, all to a pulsating hodgepodge of French electronic synths. The four members of the group strive to use the turntables as instruments, a lofty idea that creates their rich and complex sound. But why, when Justice already electrified the world with 2007's impressive debut (and my number one album of that year) † should we listen to yet another French electronic band? Well, for one thing, those Justice boys produced a track on Manual for Successful Rioting.
That track, "The Parachute Ending," screams of Justice, employing some of their more famous and recognizable trademark synths. Hell, the song sounds like a forgotten track from † itself. Birdy Nam Nam has to be doing something right to get the attention of such talented electronic music taste makers like Justice. Birdy Nam Nam sometimes fall into the regrettable gap of too many electronic musicians, especially European ones, producing sounds that reek of Zombie Nation or The Prodigy. It's a slippery slope to distance your band's sound from that profitable and very accessible sound those more popular bands produced in the latter half of the 90's and on into the early part of this decade. Birdy Nam Nam's unique style, however, distances themselves from the pack with great ease.
The cocky, assaulting opening synth of "TransBoulogne Express" (love the Kraftwerk shout out) gives way to insanely catchy, thumping beats, all with some unintelligable voice synths thrown in for good measure - most likely to remind listeners that Birdy Nam Nam are, in fact, not American. "TransBoulogne Express" is a frenetic song, one that is sure to get the dancefloor moving no matter the situation. I personally cannot stop listening to it, and it simply won't let me stop. Sure, I tend to have an electronic dance music bias, especially if it's French, but Birdy Nam Nam is worth a listen. France has given us so much good electronic dance music - from Daft Punk to SebastiAn, Yuksek to Yelle. It comes as no surprise to me that Birdy Nam Nam are as polished as they sound. If you're looking for some electronic dance music that has a bit of a darker feel to it and that will unrelentlessly assault your senses, I suggest heading on to Birdy Nam Nam's myspace and giving them a listen.
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I also suggest listening to the track "Love Your Enemy (Kill Your Friends)," although it might not leave your head for weeks.