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Sample Track 1:
"Etoile pâle" from Motifs
Sample Track 2:
"High, Low, In" from Motifs
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Paris Combo

On three studio records (a first eponymous album in 1997, followed by Living-room in 1999 and Attraction in 2001) and a double live (Paris Combo live in 2002), Paris Combo has sketched out its own unique world, establishing itself as one of the most piquant, intriguing groups in French song. Intrinsically Parisian in its way of combining contributions from different worlds within a single group, the combo is based on the united talents of singer Belle du Berry, pianist and trumpet player David Lewis, guitarist Potzi, double-bass player and second singer Mano Razanajato and drummer François Jeannin. The quintet’s originality lies in its multiple styles and influences. Today, it boasts a broad repertoire well-suited to its growing audience all around the world. Before beginning work on the new album, the group went on a tour of around twenty dates to “test” new songs in real time. This was their way of recapturing the spontaneity and freshness of the early days and flouting the rule that audiences can only be presented with songs they can sing along to. Efficiently and smoothly produced by Oz Fritz, the Motifs album has benefited from this experimental tour. The scope of the group’s sound is widened by a variety of arrangements, ranging from a hushed murmur to an explosion of life.


Their modernity and the contemporary nature of their inspiration are best expressed in their lyrics, which eagerly grapple with today’s society and all its points of ambivalence. Belle du Berry mischievously levels her pen at the champions of universal technology on “High, Low, In,” the album’s opening track, something of a delayed answer to Gainsbourg’s “Qui est in, qui est out?” (“Who’s in, who’s out?”). Belle offers her sharpest observations to date on this album with lyrics that are keen to explore the relationship between the personal and the universal. Take the portrait gallery of “Calendar” for instance, dwelling on lives not that ordinary, or Aquarium and its subtle, delicate look at human relations in the age of globalisation or “Ennemis Siamois” (“Siamese Enemies”), offering a half-amused, half-disillusioned take on our love lives at this start of a new century. With their unfailingly light and good-natured tone, Paris Combo express doubts about the progress of our planet, explored from pole to pole by a “Touriste d’une vie” (“Tourist of a life”), who “has never packed his bags / but in his heart of hearts / boredom waits for him to set up home there”. Motifs also offers more personal reflections: about marriage on “Baguée” (“Ringed”) or with the “Prête à Porter” (“Ready to wear”). As a counterpoint, the album provides an elegant instrumental interlude led by Potzi’s gypsy guitar, as well as a delicate “Discordance,” featuring the timbre of double-bass player Mano, the combo’s second singer.