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Watoo Watoo

La Fuite

(Letterbox; US: Available as import; UK: 18 Jun 2007)

It’s been several years since I’ve heard a track by French duo Watoo Watoo; no doubt it was on a various-artists compilation, possibly one with paper packaging and hand-drawn cover art. Back then their pop songs were sweet and melodic, with Pascale singing softly while Michael strummed guitars in that optimistic, bouncy, indie-pop way. On this new album La Fuite—only their third album in over a decade—that’s still the case, but not the whole story. Their songs have picked up a relaxed state of sophistication, like they’ve been listening to a lot of cocktail jazz and bossa nova, fancy cocktails in hand, letting the vibe seep into their songs, without detracting from their essence. The DIY approach they take to making music hasn’t changed, but the smooth, polished end result doesn’t suggest it. There’s funk guitars here, even, furthering a decidedly retro, but still vibrant, mood. “Stunning” is my best complimentary descriptor for most of this, especially the surprisingly lounge-y cover of Luna’s “Chinatown”. That song’s night-in-the-city scene seems perfect for this 2007 version of Watoo Watoo; they make the song serenely elegant, as they do with every song on the album.

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Dave Heaton has been writing about music on a regular basis since 1993, first for unofficial college-town newspapers and DIY fanzines and now mostly on the Internet. In 2000, the same year he started writing for PopMatters, he founded the online arts magazine ErasingClouds.com, still around but often in flux. He writes music reviews for the print magazine The Big Takeover. He is a music obsessive through and through. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.


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