Les Sans Culottes – Full Frontal Crudite – Live in Paris

Les Sans Culottes
Full Frontal Crudite – Live in Paris

Oh, to be young, and French, in France. Or Brooklyn. Whatever. Les Sans Culottes supposedly is French, but supposedly resides in that fairest of New York boroughs. Still, the band supposedly recorded this album, live, in Paris, which is in France (I guess). They also supposedly make rock music. Well, scratch that, they definitely make rock music. It may not be a form of rock music all too palatable to a post-millennial, non-Gaulish crowd, but it is still rock music, and its inaccessibility isn’t necessarily the band’s fault, anyway. If an English-speaker was interested in listening to some perfectly acceptable 60s garage pop, they would most likely look for a band that performed said music in a language they could understand. Since there are a lot of groups making perfectly acceptable 60s garage pop in English, I don’t really see how the Les Sans Culottes will be able to carve out a comfortable commercial niche in the good ol’ Francophobic US of A. And really, that’s not too much of a shame, since none of this music is spectacular enough to make up for the fact that it’s all in a language most of us over here will never care to know, or for the fact that the Culottes had the sour luck to supposedly be from France and not Japan.
All schtick aside, this record’s a toss-up. The songs are not bad at all, and they are never less than competent. At the same time, however, they are likewise hardly ever more than merely competent. A gaggle of pleasant, generic garage-pop tunes may be eternally inoffensive, but they rarely incite any great sense of passion or entertainment within the hearts of the audience. The handful of covers, featuring some English songs redone in French (like “California Sun” and “These Boots are Made for Walking”), will probably widen the eyes and smiles of many a “wacky” college radio DJ without ever actually impressing or entertaining any other, less desperate souls. The originals slide in and out of the noggin whilst leaving nary a mark, positive or negative. The hour washes by in a trickle of intemperate indifference. All that registers, all that matters, really, is the schtick, and thus it is quite hard to cast that aside.
I have no idea how legit this gimmick is, and I don’t really care. Were I a Frenchman living in France and looking for some inoffensive Nuggets-type action sung in the language of my land, I would maybe give Les Sans Culottes a little look-see. And perhaps their studio albums are more vibrant and rocking than this live performance document. But as a big asshole American, I just have to be honest and tell you that this music makes leaves no impression at all, outside of mild annoyance at that ever-present schtick.