Let’s be honest… if Souvenir’s Patricia de la Fuente sang in English, this would just come off as yet another album of catchy, jangly pop hopelessly infatuated with and inspired by ’60s psychedelic pop, surf, and movie soundtracks. But the fact that her effortless vocals are sung in breezy French make the kitsch extremely palatable. For some, the fact that this Spanish trio sings in French is either the pinnacle of highbrow pop, or just some shameless Eurotrash. Be that as it may, there’s something extremely likable about it all.
But darn it all if Patricia’s vocals aren’t sometimes too bequiling for their own good, like a Dominique Durand (Ivy) more prone to daydream and spend her days driving through the countryside in her shiny Italian roadster. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken French, but I’m assuming the songs are all about sleeping in on weekends, first kisses, the French countryside, and discussing the merits of Dusty Springfield and the movies of Godard and Truffaut.
Well, maybe not, but that’s the vibe I’m getting from the music. “Quand Tu Reviendras” may start off mellow enough with brushed drums and gently strummed acoustic guitar; the whole song never really rises above a gentle breeze, especially since it ends with Patricia’s cooing just floating off to nowhere. But things get all gogo-like with “Au Bord Du Soleil” which recalls Shonen Knife’s poppiest moments, but in French and with grainy brass accompaniment and a catchy surf bridge. “Dusty” (presumably an ode to Dusty Springfield) feels like the perfect theme for a movie in which our young heroine spends a dreamy Spring day wandering down the Champs Elysses, while “La Femme Aux Mille Visages” closes things on a somewhat melancholy note.
These songs have a habit of just fading away into nothingness when they’re done, which kind of reflects the overall impression this CD makes. It sure sounds dreamy and catchy, but its style definitely reigns over its substance. You can listen to it as many times as you want, but it won’t stick around too long in your memory when the last song’s done. But while it’s playing, and Patricia is cooing in your ear, it’ll be oh so blissful.