This is a very unsuspecting album. I did not suspect it to throw me off the sassy French New Wave band scent as much as it did. There was no odour of Nouvelle Vogue on this album. No whiff of those re- interpreted chansons that made the collective group of artists so unique. I even felt a little bit cheated by this album – like smelling an impostor’s cologne on a boyfriend’s shirt collar. I anticipated the smell of Hugo Boss and ended up with a trace of Pino Silvestre, pine cone bottle and all. I couldn’t catch the aroma of the band that spawned astounding French artists who went on to hold their own as soloists, like the smouldering Camille.
The deceit lay in the bold artist’s name on the cover of the album which clearly stated, NOUVELLE VAGUE. It wasn’t until a few tracks on, that I realised the fine print on the face informed me that Marc Collin, the co- producer from Nouvelle Vague, was presenting a collection of soundtracks. Information that would have assisted me before I had pressed play. Damn fine print.
I did eventually get over my sensory disappointment and accepted the album for what is was. Not much more than a mixtape of Collin’s favourite jazz, classical and bossa nova themed music. There was no direction to the album as each track went from one genre to the other. It opened with Gato Barbieri’s Last Tango In Paris and the next few tracks did contain some sensual saxophones accompanied by throbbing trumpets and dynamic drums, which reminded me of a 1960’s espionage themed drama staged in a cocktail bar. It then jumped to overtly romantic classics like Armando Trovajoli’s Dramma Della Gelosia with sweeping violins and a tinge of melancholic nostalgia. The uneven tone continued with haunting tracks from Vangelis and chansons by Philippe Sarde, topped off with a very charming, albeit unevenly placed, chill- out track by Collin himself.
There is no question that the artists on this compilation are outstanding and well respected. I appreciated the tracks for their delightful and artfully composed music. I realise Collin’s intention was to pay homage to these artists with the album’s title Coming Home a clear indication that these particular songs held meaning to Collin and set him on his Nouvelle Vague path.
Yet in my humble opinion, it would seem that this album would fair better when listened to with a martini in hand, played softly in the background of a dinner party, as you contemplate when the real Nouvelle Vague will bring out another jazzed up track.