Nouvelle Vague Bande A Part

Following up 2004’s eponymous debut, France’s Nouvelle Vague find 14 more songs from the eras of punk, post-punk and new wave to transform into airy works of bossa nova and lounge-inspired pop. If you’re familiar with their first effort, Bande A Part won’t offer too many surprises — members Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux haven’t changed their orchestrations much at all, and though their voices are distinct enough, vocalists Melanie Pain, Camille and Phoebe Killdeer keep the moods of the songs to a hushed, appropriate calm. They do give things a little jolt with the upbeat bump of Billy Idol’s "Dancing with Myself” and to a lesser extent Buzzcocks’ "Ever Fallen In Love,” but the remainder of the album flows with a gentle, unperturbed ease. They pull off a remarkable rendition of the Cramps’ "Human Fly,” which is as close to rebellious as NV seem to get, and "Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is treated with the utmost respect, using its original creepy sensation to turn it into a low dirge. There are some unwise choices, such as covering lesser-known songs by lesser-known acts like Blancmange and the Sound, but Band A Part, primarily, pulls off another good round of covering memorable songs in a fashion that is both unique and desirable. (Justin Time)