The lineup: They're not telling.
The background: They are models and they're looking good. Actually, they're not models, but they do all wear black and dye their hair peroxide blond, which is a start. This week, we have interviewed – true story – 10cc, Can and New Order, three of the greatest groups ever, and part of what we love about them is that they focused all their energies on making out-of-this-world, science-fictional pop music, not on their image. But every once in a while it's nice to see a band make an effort and dress up. We love a band in uniform, whether it's Public Enemy's paramilitary chic, Kraftwerk's robot look or Mansun's droog clobber. Seeing La Femme, a six-piece from Paris, marching with European froideur, and a side order of hauteur, through the streets of their home city like so many menacingly bored replicants in matching black leather coats (they might be PVC, which would also be fine), gives us a thrill, it really does. We read that they are a five-piece, so the fact that there are six in the video to their latest single Paris 2012, about "villains coming from another world and wanting to destroy Paris", suggests they are self-reproducing replicants. This thrills us even more.
La Femme's music isn't as cyber as all this might lead you to assume. They call themselves – or certainly people are calling them – "lo-fi surf-pop", and comparisons have been made with the Drums. Apparently there are allusions in their songs to surfing (our French is terrible), and there have been discussions on some forums about whether the band themselves surf (what, in those outfits?), but either way there is some of that lo-fi indie, twangy quality to their music, with its garage recklessness and tinny rumble. It's Nuggets-style proto-punk meets early synth-pop, the crude keyboard sounds coming across like a primitive form of electronica and the basslines suggesting an intimacy with the pre-pop Cure, when they were still writing songs informed by French existentialist literature about killing Arabs, not Lovecats. Sur La Planche, the first track on this unsigned band's debut EP Le Podium No 1, has shades of Stereolab and Ladytron, but also of UK new wave – the stuff that came after punk but before post-punk that was a bit quirky and novelty: think Rezillos or Flying Lizards. There's a goth dolour to Telegraphe, while La Femme Ressort is like a 60s TV spy theme. On each of the songs, the girls sound like the mannequins from Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love video brought to something approaching life. They're appearing at The Great Escape next month, where we also have a stage, so we'll definitely catch them live. And when you see us at the back, all in black, yawning, it won't be ennui, it'll be in homage.
The buzz: "Who says the next great surf-rock band can't be from France?" – My Old Kentucky Blog.
The truth: They're chic – but they're no Chic.
Most likely to: Catch a wave.
Least likely to: Catch a cold.
What to buy: Debut EP Le Podium No 1 is available now on Bandcamp.
File next to: B52s, Ladytron, Stereolab, Rezillos.
Friday's new band: The Hall of Mirrors.
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