Like tonic with gin, pickle with cheese and a crushing English victory against Australia, there is something about electronica and batshit mentalism that sits so snugly and sweetly in combination. In many senses, profound seriousness simply does not belong in the world of the dancefloor: it should be all about loosening your grip and letting the mask slip (hence my avowed, unabashed hatred of mirrors in nightclubs. They should hereby be banned). But rarely do you get the opportunity to indulge your childlike pleasures on an electronic bouncy castle that, try as it might, simply cannot resist being anything other than absolute FUN. So for that: thank you We Are Enfant Terrible. Thank you for welcoming us to 2011. And rest assured that if they have their way, things are going to get pretty weird from this moment on…
Of course, the French have past form with thing sort of thing (Daft Punk, Justice, Cassius). But even by their standards, Enfant Terrible are something to behold. Everything about their Wild Fish EP, from the barking mad artwork onwards, suggests a band relaxed, a band confident in their sound and template, revelling in every moment. But their overall appeal is down to the simple fact that if you close your eyes, visions arise of a studio bedecked in furs and confetti, the band pissed off their face on champagne and searching the synthesiser banks for the most retro, wayback sounds contained within the microchips. Whilst wearing party hats. This is music that simply vibrates with pleasure.
Lead track ‘Wild Child’ slaloms in and out of dense buzz-saw synth, somewhat akin to the sound that used to emanate from a Sega Master System circa 1986. The vocal delivery from Clo Floret is a combination of seductress and hyperactive pre-school infant. It’s outrageously simple and uncluttered, yet maintains the endorphin-conscripting thrill that quantifies all great electronic music. ‘Flesh ‘n’ Blood Kids’ is even better, more musical homage to Alex Kidd and Space Invaders while Clo drapes her lips around the bits and bytes. ‘I Can’t Help Myself’ belongs more to the mainstream as they aim for the crossover indie/dance anthem. What they lose in originality however, they gain in a gilded understanding of anthemic structure and form as they slowly whisk a simple series of bleeps and beats into something semi-orgasmic, both from the perspective of the listener and the troublingly erotic sounds created by wee Chloe, who can perform breathless sensuality along with the best of the Birkins and the Bardots. ‘Eagles Don’t Sparkle’ is the final 'official' track on the EP and also the most unhinged. For once, the vocals take a backseat to an array of demented squeaks, whirrs and insistent, gasping-in-the-club-air euphoria. The most intelligent track on the EP musically; it leaves the vocals strung between wires as the concoction of epic sounds folds around you to the point of no physical return. It’s a fantastic celebration of glory and chaos; the sound of beautiful, brilliant people having the best time of their life.
The EP is complimented by three remixes which manage to preserve the intelligence of the originals with a clear dancefloor angle. Easily the best is the Juiceboxx remix of ‘Wild Child’ which manages to magnificently swing the original by way of mid-Eighties Brooklyn, New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ and Les Rythmes Digitales’ ‘Jacques Your Body’. The other two remixes are somewhat curios, intriguing rather than insistent. There is nothing particularly bad about them, but you can’t help the regretful feeling that Chew Lips could have done something truly appalling, traumatising and wonderful to their ‘Wild Child’ remix if they’d been given more time and access to a Parisian bondage club.
We Are Enfant Terrible aren’t anything particularly new. They are just very, very good at what they do. And that, more than anything is their most thrilling attribute. Too often recently, away from the dubstep phenomenon, dance music has been about poise, Prada and chiselled, artful cool. Enfant Terrible don’t so much challenge this stereotype as drive a tank drenched in glowstick fluid directly into the heart of it. It’s retro and somewhat formulaic; it is also brilliantly, blinding and brimming with energy and enthusiasm. Dance music hasn’t been this much fun since As Heard on Radio Soulwax. Once again, out continental colleagues manage to effortlessly mine a brilliant seam of electronic music from the Gaelic earth. We might have had our disagreements over the years of history, but f**k me; they don’t half know how to make us dance. If Enfant Terrible had been the house band at the battle of Agincourt, there would have been a lot less arrows and a lot more jester hats…
8David Edwards's Score