Nous Wave

3.23.2009

By Jason Lamphier

When it comes to Nous Non Plus, there's a fine line between true and faux. Since late 2005 the offbeat sextet have been slapping New York City's underground music scene out of its cynical funk with their giddy 1960s Franco-pop, performing almost entirely in French and sporting punny pseudonyms like Cal D'Hommage and Bonnie Day (above, left). The thing is, apart from Swiss vocalist C'line Dijon (right), Nous Non Plus (translation: 'neither do we' or 'us no more') barely have a grasp of the French language. The group's American members write their lyrics in English, Dijon translates, and then they learn the songs phonetically.

Yet their act has been quite believable, says singer-bassist Jean-Luc Retard (a.k.a. Dan Crane), who frequently interrupts gushing Parisian fans when Nous Non Plus play overseas to tell them he can't understand them. The lascivious Retard, he adds, is actually Crane's uninhibited, omnisexual alter ego. In fact, Crane (center), who has dabbled with both men and women, says all of the band members' stage identities are personifications of the genderless ideal they eagerly promote on their new album, M'nagerie (out now on Aeronaut), a bubbly blend of horns, string sections, Moog synthesizers, and quirky percussion samples. 'We try to maintain that playful sexuality of late-'60s French songs,' explains Retard. 'We're celebrating love of any kind, for any gender.

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