April 15, 2010

Très Bien! is indeed very good

In 2007 there was a forgettable (arent' they all really?) reality/game show called The Next Great American Band in which a dozen or so different bands competed to win a recording contract. Courtesy of the American Idol folks you can pretty much imagine exactly how the show went and what the acts were like. The winners were a country Christian act (that's two strikes right there), and the best band of the whole thing was bounced in the middle of the season. That was Très Bien!

Très Bien! is a garage rock band that throughout the show unashamedly paraded their love of sixties garage rock across the stage, and even referred to themselves as mods from time to time. So it was not surprising when the Brittany Spears loving American masses unceremoniously voted the band off after they covered the Stones.

Flash forward to 2010 and here comes Très Bien! with a brand new album, Rough Gems, which is a sort of collection of the band's favorite songs of their own over the past eight years. The sixties influences are here in spades, as are the band's love of garage rock, indie power pop and Britpop. They meld it altogether into a really enjoyable set of songs that range from the post-punk spikiness of "Meet Your Maker", to the garagey Strokes-like "Easy To Love Me", to the shakey, swaggering R&B of both "Your Graceful Soul" and "How I Feel".

There are a couple of standouts. For me the best track is the very soulful, rocker "Right & Wrong", which with its catchy hooks and melody and some strong vocals just seems to wokr on every level. The other standout is probably the oddest song in the bunch, Between The Sheets, a bit of indie rock ala The Libertines or The Arctic Monkeys.

Très Bien! -- Right & Wrong

Très Bien! -- Between The Sheets