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Coralie Clément 

Bye Bye Beauté

Wednesday, Feb 2 2005
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On Coralie Clément's 2002 debut, Salle Des Pas Perdus, the French singer acted the breathy chanteuse, brushing up against the type of jazzy '60s orchestrations favored by Françoise Hardy and Jane Birkin. For her sophomore effort, she has mostly traded in the acoustic settings for sculpted feedback and a thumping backbeat. The results are invigorating in a way her previous effort never was -- her new compositions offering unexpected twists and turns, the sultry whispering pawing the sputtering guitars, the organ fighting through the anarchic noise. Even the quieter songs are more impressive here, stripped of everything but Rhodes piano or acoustic guitar. Some of the best tracks are collaborations with altrock one-hit wonders Nada Surf, a trio that seems to have been studying its Blonde Redhead and Ivy records. With the help of Surf and her brother (renowned producer Benjamin Biolay), Clément has fashioned a wonderful album, one that updates the chanteuse for the modern age.

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Dan Strachota

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