By Hayden Prescott Corwin ’15
La Femme—“Psycho Tropical Berlin”
9 out of 10
La Femme is a French band that released their debut full length album “Psycho Tropical Berlin” in February 2013.
“Psycho Tropical Berlin” contains 13 tracks with eight bonus tracks included in the bonus track version.
The band’s sound is largely based around synthesizers and keyboards.
Vocals on this album, performed by Clémence Quélennec and various female vocalists, are smooth and easy to listen to, but also excitable when necessary.
Their sound has been described as surf-pop cold-wave.
Some of the music styles on this album are similar to the Velvet Underground, Kraftwerk and various electronic and cold-wave bands.
The opening track “Antitaxi” begins with a slow lead in, and then picks up the tempo.
The drums steady the song and the synthesizers continue to pulse along until there is a break for a moment.
“Antitaxi” picks up tempo once again and ends with the sound of a car crash.
A majority of the songs on “Psycho Tropical Berlin” are upbeat.
It is a good album to listen to while driving or going for a jog.
Most of their songs are entirely sung in French with minimal use of English.
The track “It’s Time to Wake Up 2023” is the only English song on the album.
“It’s Time to Wake Up 2023” is an elegant song that opens with a synthesizer replicating an alarm clock.
It creates a calming atmosphere that feels like you peacefully woke up to early morning sunlight.
The vocals on this track are delicate but crisp.
“La Femme” has a sly feel to it as if it were being used in a James Bond movie.
“La Femme” also has rhythmic bongos and funky bass grooves that could have been used in a ’70s detective movie like “Dirty Harry.”
All of the songs on the album have an element of suspense due to eerie organ sounds that weep above many of the tracks.
It has a surf guitar vibe much like the sound of the Ventures with a Halloween influence.
Overall, “Psycho Tropical Berlin” is a poppy, grabbing album that puts synthesizers to good use.
For their first full length record, La Femme has produced an album that projects a positive future for the band.