Celebrating 20 years since the release of their seminal, self-titled debut album, Nouvelle Vague are performing at Band on the Wall with Kill The Pain, an intriguing duo featuring Nouvelle Vague’s own Mélanie Pain.
Bossa Nova = Nouvelle Vague = New Wave. This transliteration was the starting point for Marc Collin and the late Olivier Libaux’s unique project, Nouvelle Vague. The French musicians and producers set out with the intention of doing something that hadn’t been tried before: running punk, post punk and new wave classics through a bossa nova filter. To further distance the songs from their original versions, they’d recruit female vocalists who were unfamiliar with the 80s classics.
Nouvelle Vague’s debut album, featuring covers of Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, XTC’s ‘Making Plans For Nigel’ and Tuxedomoon’s ‘In a Manner of Speaking’, was initially conceived as a one-off. Little did Collin and Libaux know it would soar to global acclaim, the band’s unique fusion of melancholic post punk and bossa nova, coupled with their daring French reinterpretation approach, immediately setting them apart.
Naturally, two more albums followed fairly swiftly, revealing many new and brilliant vocal talents, among them Mélanie Pain, Camille, Phoebe Killdeer, Elodie Frege, Nadeah and Liset Alea. 3 also featured collaborations with Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore, Ian McCulloch from Echo and the Bunnymen, Terry Hall from The Specials and Barry Adamson. Further acclaimed albums were released in 2010, 2016 and 2019, the band performing them to rapturous audiences worldwide.
Nouvelle Vague’s 2024 worldwide tour celebrates 20 years since the release of their seminal first album alongside the launch of their next classic LP, timed specifically to coincide with the UK leg of the tour.
One member of the band will find herself particularly busy on this tour. Mélanie Pain, the unmistakable voice behind many of Nouvelle Vague’s covers, has launched a new project with Phoebe Killdeer, the Australian singer and songwriter of the international number 1 hit ‘Fade Out Lines’. Aptly titled Kill The Pain, the duo’s music flits between nostalgic hedonism and something more futuristic, splicing angular post punk with elastic synth pop, off-kilter funk and far-flung genres.
Kill The Pain’s self-titled debut album, which dropped in 2023, whirled through a kaleidoscope of sounds and styles – a joyful helter-skelter of Latin percussion, funky bass, fraught electric guitars, uninhibited vocals, Afrobeat drums, and 80’s indebted keyboards. Featuring the singles ‘I Do What I Do’ and ‘Zig Zag’ among its many highlights, Kill The Pain scrawled the duo’s name onto that long list of outlandish women prepared to push pop culture to its limits.
It’s a great two-for-one at Band on the Wall, and the perfect balm for those winter blues.