the music seine
Your better music editors tend to enforce a ban on the phrase “something in the water.” The chestnut gets bandied about every time a new pop scene seems to effloresce out of nowhere and for no obvious reason. Water samples have been taken in Omaha and Athens, Georgia, in Gothenberg and in Montreal. Right now, however, the critics are casting an eye at the Seine. There must be something in the Paris water; how else to explain the recent bloom of French rock bands that sing in English and look like extras from a Libertines video shoot? (Someone get Malcolm Gladwell on this, and fast.) This month, the French rock invasion has set up camp in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at the record label-sponsored loft currently occupied by Neïmo. Pronounced NAY-mo, the four-man buzz band of the moment has Hollywood producer Steve Bing bankrolling a month-long residency in New York, which sees them playing again tonight at Pianos on the Lower East Side. Lead singer Bruno Dallesandro and guitarist Camille Troillard have a studied Mick ‘n’ Keef thing going, all shaggy hair and skinny jeans and homoerotic stage tension, but that’s a red herring. Neïmo also boasts a drummer who looks like Flea’s long-lost French relative, and their take on post-punk makes them close cousins of Razorlight and the Killers. Dallesandro himself neatly sums up the band’s sound when he says that their two biggest influences are New Order and the Stooges. He also has a pretty tight explanation for the sudden emergence of the Paris scene. “Well, we all hang out at the same bar, Shebeen,” he notes, “and we drink beer together and we share girlfriends.” Water, apparently, was the wrong place to look.