Ignited by a spark from the ashes of the late, great Fly Pan Am (who broke up in 2005), Feu Thérése released their self-titled debut last year and on that release seemed like they were still trying to find which direction they wanted to move. For the most part, their second release Ça Va Cogner finds them on much more steady footing, with an assured sound that sounds something like new wave crossed with a healthy dose of 80s pop (filtered through a French lens).
In many ways, the ten song, thirty-eight minute album sounds like some sort of lost relic that was discovered in a crate somewhere in Europe then given the reissue treatment two decades later. "A Nos Amours" opens the release with unabashed analogue synth stabs that give way to string synth backing and jangling guitar while a punchy rhythm section keeps everything in check. Cool, almost spoken-word vocals drive the song while instrumental passages are almost over-the-top in their drama. "Visage Sous Nylon" follows, and mixes more dry guitars with bass synth arpeggios with deliberate French vocals in a way that at least partially recalls the latter-period synth-pop of Serge Gainsbourg.
The biggest problem with the release is that it doesn't show any teeth at all. The album-titled "Ça Va Cogner" is nice enough, but at well over five minutes of spacey synths (and samples of children singing), it sounds like an Art Of Noise outtake. They shake a few of the cobwebs off on songs like the slightly more rough "Ferrari En Feu Pt 2," but compared to their sometimes rough and even sonically hijacked debut, this one veers too close to the safe side of the equation much of the time. Overall, the group shows much improved songwriting on this second release, though, and if they could combine that with the more adventurous spirit of their debut, they might just have themselves a real knockout.