Monday, August 7th, 2017

Indochine – La Vie Est Belle

La nouvelle vague…


Katie Gill: I had this lovely little blurb about how Indochine wonderfully drew upon a 1980s sort of new-wavey synth sound while simultaneously bringing a beautiful modern spin to it… only to find out, one wiki search later, that Indochine is a 1980s sort of new-wavey band in the first place. At least that explains why they’re so good at replicating that sound.

Iain Mew: The French singles chart works in very different ways from the UK one, judging by this reaching #1 when it’s been ten years since heritage rock was a valid route to big hits here for Oasis, U2 or, more to the point, Depeche Mode. It’s their latter day settling down that Indochine remind me of on “La Vie Est Belle,” with an unfussy darkness and tension to its synth-rock that builds enjoyably. Until they go all thin stadium ballad and sound less classic and more out of time.

Alex Clifton: This song is groovy and spacious — a delightful throwback to new wave that I truly wish more people used. Even better: it doesn’t even sound dated, just pulsating and fresh. (Considering that Indochine have been around since 1981, I call that a win. It’s less “’80s nostalgia!!!” and more “this is a modern take on what we’ve always done.”) It’s also got that weird effortless cool that nobody can pull off like the French. If anything, I wish it went a bit harder towards the end. The entire song is five and a half minutes long, making me long for a stronger buildup and release. Give me an extended synth solo before the final chorus, something to mime at a bar when I’m drunk!

Juana Giaimo: “La Vie Est Belle” features a lot of ’80s classic elements — the echoed vocals, high-pitched single keyboard notes and a nocturne atmosphere — without offering anything new. Throughout its five-and-a half-minutes we are waiting for a fresh chorus to appear and give some energy to this song, but Indochine prefers to take no risks. 

Alfred Soto: “Stately” and “grand” and all the rest of it. Also “pompous,” never breaking out its synthesized plod. And “long.”

Ian Mathers: The seems even-keeled enough to tip into the milquetoast, although quick internet translation tells me that one of the lines is something like “Life goes too fast, your cancer is mine,” so maybe if I spoke French I’d note some productive tension here. As it is, “La Vie Est Belle” mostly just feels like it comes close to achieving lift-off but never quiiiite makes it there.

William John: Aside from a middle eight which suddenly threatens to morph into “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” this missive from French new wave heavyweights Indochine rests at a tepid cadence unsuited to its melodramatic lyrics. If the lead singer sang something as grandiose as “moi, je suis né pour n’être qu’avec toi” to me in a manner so detached, bored, and stony, I’d be demanding a refund.

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