One-Two are French retro electro-poppers with a wry sense of humour… Hang on! Haven’t we already got one of those? Air? Ok, so they’re also arch MOR revivalists from France…Hang on! We’ve got them already – Phoenix AND Tahiti 80. So, what pray tell is so special about this lot? Unfortunately over the course of Love Again there is no conclusive answer.
The recurring theme here is of overfamiliarity breeding contempt. Was there ever a need to revisit the middle of the road for pedestrian tunes of no invention and smartarse lyrics performed with a cheeky wink here and a smug nod there? In their heads they are “The Kinks produced by LCD Soundsystem“. Ho. Ho. Ho. Those crazy Gallic funsters. The lure of the Guilty Pleasures compilations were a powder keg for the careers of inoffensive whey-faced, limp music that is pure Radio 2 fodder or as we call it ‘cheesy listening’.
Oh Yeah, Alright fizzes with Frog Pop suss like a phrasebook explosion of ‘English words for French singers’ and their inability to pronounce ‘th’ sounds without making them ‘zzz’ sounds! Oh the larfs we had! Racing it neck and neck is O-Hot Brain for a fuzzed-up mess of bleep-pop that’s like the Gorillaz wearing lipstick on pogosticks. On a different note the bleakly melodramatic musicbox of The End Of Your Song stalks its Casio-world with sneering menace and deadpan female backing vocals to stunning effect after the fluff and tinsel before it.
Yet the quality control isn’t consistent and all too often veers from the smart to the twee (the pastoral, reedy watercolour (Blissfull Boy Emma Needs A Love Song) and grating (Heady Melody).
The joke wears anorexically thin over the course of the album and the need for a little bit of humanity in amongst all this wry…irony (urgh! Didn’t we see the back of that in the late nineties?). 10am tries to capture something of heartache with its plodding folky whimsy, but just seems trite and nauseating.
Have You Ever Been Blue? comes on like Kraftwerk fronted by Syd Barrett with its electro-psychedelia and psychobabble lyrics (“Sleeping with my prawns playing Maradona”) which should sound good, but is more..testing…testing…very, very testing. Similarly Say It Loud’s refrain of “Say it loud, I’m white and I’m shy” sounds streetsmart, and is made suitably anorexic, pale but not interesting when couched in such bland musical settings of unpossessing, pop candy that makes The Feeling look like AC/DC.
“Well it’s ONE for the money, TWO for the show…three to get ready…four to go…go…go…”. Like the world’s worst comedy duo attempting to do a French version of Pet Shop Boys, draped in onions, berets askew, twirling villain moustaches, One-Two are a musical joke the world could do without.