Fate brought me together with the Prototypes. Back in June, mxdwn.com compatriot and editor-in-chief Ray Flotat had a party. As the soirée began to die down, the DJ pulled out a shiny new 12-inch from a little-known French band and played a song that would haunt me for weeks. As chance would have it, this humble journalistic enterprise would have me review this transatlantic group and expose me to the next best thing since the French Revolution, the Peugeot, and Audrey Tautou.So just who are the Prototypes? In a nutshell, they’re a balls-to-the-wall electro rock-pop crêpe, enveloped in punk attitude and crotch-grabbing éclat, topped with a generous serving of French New Wave and strawberries. “Je Ne Te Connais Pas” (“I do not know you” – thanks Apple Translator!) is perhaps their best example of this mix, complete with pounding synths, a distorted and jarring guitar riff, and a spirited if not ebullient “yeah, yeah, yeah.” On “Dis Moi,” the Prototypes display a sweetness about them that borders on innocence before a flood of ’60s-inspired psychedelic dance-rock takes over the senses. It is this kind of variety and musical tastes that makes every track on their Stateside debut distinctly “Prototypes.”
Lead singer Isabelle le Doussal is a mix of Karen O, Blondie, and every independent woman out there (including BeyoncâˆšÂ©) and her presence on this album brings all of these personalities to the fore. Stephane Bodin (bass and synths) and Francois Marche (guitar) complement her well as the other instrument-playing thirds. Lyrically, I’ve got nothing; the album is all in French. However, if music truly is the universal language, then no translation should be required. Vrai? Oui.