Nouvelle Vague is an imaginative and genre-bending group that has emerged from the French electronica scene, which is populated by many worthwhile acts that never see these shores. Those who think cover bands are worthless hacks with nothing to offer haven't heard this Parisian duo (Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux) transform original songs into numbers virtually unrecognizable to the untrained ear. In the minds of Nouvelle Vague, the Dead Kennedys' raucous anthem "Too Drunk to Fuck" becomes a playful, peaceful ditty; Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" gets a sexy, south-of-the-border workout; and Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough" is transformed into a scatty jazz tune.
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Nouvelle Vague's self-titled 2004 debut features these and other ear-opening reconstructions of New Wave and punk classics into sumptuous bossa nova and freeform jazz licks. Their second full-length will be out this year. Collin and Libaux have amassed more than an album's worth of material, forcing tough choices among their new, spicy versions of songs like Bauhaus's "Bela Lugosi's Dead," Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself," Dexy's Midnight Runners' "Come On Eileen," New Order's "Blue Monday," and Blondie's "Heart of Glass."