Avril Members Only

Blame DFA. Or rather, thank them, because rock has relearned how to dance while electronic music continues to fetishize the guitar. The latest producer to up the organic ante is Frenchman Fred "Avril” Magnon, who uses Members Only to make a departure from the sound that earned him a Prix Constantin (France’s Mercury Prize equivalent for critically-acclaimed but not mass market albums) for his debut That Horse Must be Starving. Like N.E.R.D.’s first effort, Avril’s album was basically completed when the multi-instrumentalist producer decided to scrap his digital efforts and rerecord the album to better capture the live feel — adding live bass and drums, more analog synths and pop vocals, in both French and English. There’s some Air-influenced ambience that hearkens back to his first album, but largely he’s pumping out guitar-heavy electrotrash on cuts like the hilarious "Can’t Stand Your Ex’s Rock Band” and the rubbery single "Be Yourself” (remixed on twelve-inch by the likes of Laurent Garnier and Broadcast). The machines are still clearly running the show but Avril straddles the two genres with such aplomb, you’d sometimes be hard pressed to tell which side he originally came from. (F Communications)