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Love & Nature
LCMDF (Le Corps Mince de Francoise) Love & Nature

Released 18 February 2011
Producer Kaiku Studios
Label Heavenly
Length 33:55
Genre Pop
Website myspace.com/lecorpsmincedefrancoise

If rumours are to be believed they are going the way of the dinosaurs. If you can still find one, though, step into your high street music store and look around. Don’t just browse the CDs like a visitor to a gallery, but actually look at the kind of music that’s on offer: An ocean of ‘Rock/Pop’, token gestures towards ‘Folk’ and ‘Jazz’, ‘Metal’, Dance’ and, tucked away at the back, ‘World Music’. In other words, practically everything you get to choose from is Anglophone pop, evolved from or influenced by the last few decades of the Anglo-American hit parade. Everything else, the whole non-Anglophone world is relegated to an afterthought.

In order to break into this hermitically sealed world, many musicians adopt a mid-Atlantic focus to their music. In doing so, they abandon whatever distinctive flavour their vernacular culture would have given them, and they put themselves at a disadvantage alongside countless home-grown clones.

Le Corps Mince de Francoise (LCMDF) hail from Finland, but nothing in their music gives that away. Throughout the course of their Love & Nature album they play a form of stripped-down, harmless pop that feels as though it’s wholly informed by early ‘90s Top of the Pops. This is most apparent on the day-glo hippy musings of 'Gandhi', which shares a similar toy piano riff with The Happy Mondays’ 'Step On'. 'Future Me' sounds like the background music to Sonic the Hedgehog with the addition of Soul II Soul style rapping. 'Cool and Bored' jangles like Cornershop’s 'Brimful of Asha' with lyrics that stumble in the footsteps of 'Stupid Kid' by The Sultans of Ping. Anachronistic electronica finds its way onto almost every track, dousing them with cheesy, if buoyant, Vince Clarke-era Depeche Mode chirping.

There are a few moments where some form of originality shows itself. 'Time (Have I Lost My Mind)' [sic] has a playground chorus that sounds like Australia’s Pukatja Kungkas, and 'Pumping Heart Shaped Thing' sounds like 'Homens' by Manu Chao. It’s the intrusion of these alien sounds to the familiar US/UK sound that adds life to this album. Pop music, and popular culture in general, has become so self-referential that rather than evolution we’re experiencing a kaleidoscopic rearrangement of established forms. Very little gets in from the outside. Even less is generated from within.

If LCMDF were more idiosyncratically Finnish, they would be more interesting but would a label bet on introducing them to a market with a taste for the usual? Put it another way: Fresh blood is needed if popular music is to become anything other than karaoke. LCMDF are in a position to provide it. Here’s hoping.

- Paul McGranaghan