Extra Extra! We're Not That Stupid

France’s Extra Extra! have managed to release one of those albums that absolutely frustrates reviewers. Half of this record is dead brilliant — tracks like "Strongman,” "All Alone,” "Queen of Lies,” and "Blue Matthieu” stand out high above the usual crowd of up-and-comers — while the other half leaves the listener guessing as to what the band was thinking of and playing at. This disparity makes We’re Not That Stupid feel like two separate and distinct albums battling for that all too precious CD real estate. The female-fronted group delivers unusual and catchy vocals, flavouring those with interesting upbeat synth and electronic arrangements for a funky blend of computer-friendly future pop. But it’s those moments where the pop structure is discarded for novelty disco-rap experimentation that ultimately detracts from the overall effect of what could otherwise be one of the best records of the year. This is almost forgivable though because music is far more eclectic in France than on this side of the ocean, and because Extra Extra! sound like they are genuinely having fun on We’re Not That Stupid and not taking themselves too seriously in the least, particularly on fluffy disco-inspired dance floor butt-shakers like "Waitin’ For The Modern World” and a couple of the very groove-happy instrumental cuts. It should be mentioned that all the lyrics on We’re Not That Stupid are sung in English and are transcribed fully in the liner notes. A perfect disc for those who like their pop strange, eccentric and diverse with a hearty dose of European influence. (Future Now)