Issue April 29, 2009


Nous Non Plus

Serge Gainsbourg is the new black. Or so it seems on Nous Non Plus’s album Menagerie. Nous Non Plus (which translates as “Us No More”) is a New York-based group of francophone RISD grads who channel Gainsbourg into a 21st century context. Heavy on the Moogs, strings and indie cred, Nous Non Plus’s sound is whimsical, charming and sung almost entirely in French. It’s a kitschy nook they’ve crafted. Not quite an inside joke, but not far off. Part of the continuing appeal of Gainsbourg is his audacity and the mod-ness of his music. This appeal, however, never translates into Nous Non Plus. Their instrumentation and songwriting don’t allow for tongue-in-cheek music changes, making every song like the next. In this way, the album is less of a menagerie and more of a continual hammering. Irony is as much subtlety as it is wit. Nous Non Plus seem to think irony is a kitsch art project. Pardon us if we don’t get the joke.