French indie electronic duo The Penelope[s] mixes a distinctly pop sensibility that draws on indie rock from the early 90′s with elements of synth-pop and early House that appeal to home listeners as well as club kids.
Axel Basquiat (composition,voice) and Vincent Tremel (textures,processing,production) met in high school in the suburbs of Paris. Their first release in 2005 was an electro cover of the Sisters Of Mercy song “Alice”,followed by a track on DJ Hell’s International Deejay Gigolo label. With the release of their first album,The Arrogance of Simplicity in 2006,their fame grew quickly. Within a year The Penelope[s] had played the best European festivals (Sonar,Razzmatazz,Dour),opened for Human League and Ladytron,been named alongside Justice,Sebastian and The Klaxons as the revelation of the year by the readers of Trax Magazine,France’s Dance culture bible,and Axel even earned a Japanese nickname “the black Iggy Pop”.
The band’s unique style caught the eye of noted French designer Agnes b.,who championed them as she had Air and Sebastien Tellier. The Penelope[s] rocked Agnes b. fashion shows in Paris and Tokyo,appeared on a number of musical projects she commissioned,such as the PS1 Wake Up Sessions or the Jeunes Gens Modernes compilation featuring the French Post Punk movement,and the band’s albums are designed by Agnes b.’s creative team. The Penelope[s] also have a knack for literature and featured award winning novelist Chloe Delaume as a song writer and singer on their first album. Their first single,Demian (featuring singer Deirdre of Ekova,is named after the eponymous Herman Hesse novel.
This variety of interest translates into their upcoming album Priceless Concrete Echoes. Produced by Black Strobe‘s Arnaud Rebotini,the album mashes Shoegazing,New York Disco,Punk and Electronica. Nostalgic hints pervade this collage,evoking at times the gestures of The Cars or New Order (Licked by Love),Ride (The Heat Goes On) or The Stooges (Stuck in Lalaland). The overall picture remains dominated by the instincts of the European dance scene:the bass is often slapped,hi-hats are multi-layered and the songs’ structure do not follow the traditional codes. The Penelope[s] are not afraid to shine a light on the disco ball (Stuck in Lalaland) or pay homage to the hedonism of the early rave movement (Your Plan For Happiness). And when The Penelope[s] cover The Beastie Boys’ Sabotage,they do it with the joyful abandon that echoes Hot Chip more than the originators of the track.